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Bakersfield Police Department

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The Bakersfield Police Department (BPD) is the agency responsible for law enforcement within the city of Bakersfield, California, in the United States. It has over 400 officers and staff, covering an area of 131 square miles (296.3 km2) serving an urban population of more than 450,000. The current chief of the department, since 2010, is Greg Williamson. The department protects the city, split between two areas: West area and East area with stations in each area aside from the main department headquarters. The department administration is made up of the chief of department, two assistant chiefs, four captains and eleven lieutenants.The department headquarters are located at 1601 Truxtun Ave. The west area station is located at 1301 Buena Vista Rd. The east area station is located at East 11th St. The department shooting range is located on Truxtun Ave. with the K-9 training school next door to the range. The department training academy is located on Norris Rd in conjunction with the Kern County Sheriff's Department.

Mission statement

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"The Bakersfield Police Department is committed to professional service which improves community safety and the quality of life by developing partnerships that promote efficient and innovative crime prevention, intervention and law enforcement service."


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The Bakersfield Police Department traces its origin to the incorporation of the City of Bakersfield in 1898. On January 13, 1898 the Bakersfield City council instituted the Bakersfield City Marshal's Office with Thomas A. Baker as its first Marshal. The police department was itself incorporated on February 27, 1915 with Jacob Horace Dupes as Chief of police.

On July 3, 1941, The Bakersfield Police Department accepted its first female officer with the hiring of Mary Holman Dodge. In January 1953, the department established a female reserve component to assist with staff duties and material operations. In 1968, the department accepted its first African-American into its ranks by the hiring of Irma Carson.

In August 1973, the department established the Bomb Squad unit with one operator in order to deal with the emerging threat of explosive ordinance in the city. Today, the squad consists of five bomb detective technicians and two robots.

In June 1988, the department started its K-9 unit, consisting of five officers and 5 working dogs. On February 8, 1994, the Bakersfield Police Activities League was established for at risk youth in the city. In June 1999, the department made city history with the promotion of Eric L. Mattlock as the first African-American chief of police for Bakersfield. On July 8, 2003, the Bakersfield Police Department started a School Resource Officer program by assigning a small detail to local city elementary schools.

In July 2003, the BPD investigated one of Bakersfield's most heinous and high profile crimes; The Harper family murders. The killing of two adults and three children in their own home sparked international media coverage and an investigation that would cross the entire United States. The BPD was able to solve the case and make an arrest of one of the victims husband, Vincent Brothers. On May 15, 2007, Brothers was convicted of the crime of murder in the first degree. The conviction was due to the efforts of the investigations bureau of the Bakersfield Police Department.

In April 2010, the BPD promoted its first female in the departments history to the rank of Captain with the promotion of Hajir Nuridin.

Rank structure

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The BPD uses a standard paramilitary rank structure.

Chief of Department
Assistant Chief of Department
Senior Officer


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Bakersfield, CA Police east side substation

Sworn assignments

  • Administration
  • Animal Control
  • Patrol Service Technician
  • Parking Enforcement
  • Public Relations Officer
  • School Resource Officer
  • Reserve Unit
  • Training
  • Patrol
  • Traffic
  • Investigations
  • Internal Affairs
  • Narcotics
  • Vice
  • Electronic Crimes Unit
  • Homeland Security Unit
  • Off Road Unit
  • GHOST Unit (anti-graffiti)
  • Warrant/Fugitive Unit (fugitive recovery)
  • Special Enforcement Unit (anti-gang)
  • K-9 Unit
  • Civil Disturbance Team
  • Bomb Squad
  • SWAT

Non-sworn assignments
  • Crime Analysis Unit
  • Crime Lab
  • Crime Prevention Office
  • Communication Center
  • Records and Reports
  • Evidence\Property Room
  • Police Chaplin
  • Police Activities League
  • Explorer Post

Vehicles and equipment

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Bakersfield, CA Police utility vehicle

The Bakersfield Police Department employs the latest in uniforms, equipment and vehicles.

Uniforms and equipment

The BPD basic patrol uniform is compromised of 5.11 Tactical B Class uniform in midnight navy blue. Traffic officers wear a similar uniform, the only difference being the thicker motorcycle pants with a gold and blue braid stripe running the length of the pant legs and long black riding boots. Patrol officers, during spring/summer seasons, are authorized to wear either white or navy blue polo shirts with the department badge embroidered. 5.11 Tactical shorts in midnight navy are also authorized during hot weather conditions. K-9 officers are authorized to wear black 5.11 Tactical tactical duty uniforms. All officers in uniform or working field assignments wear Second Chance Level II body armor.

Standard uniform equipment consists of Bianchi International AccuMold Elite duty gear with a Safariland Model 6285 Belt Drop, Level II Retention holster, First Defense MK-4 Large Duty Size pepper spray, Taser International X-26 taser, ASP, Inc. 21 inch expandable baton or Diamondwood straight stick baton, and two sets of Peerless chain link handcuffs. Motorola hand held radios are standard carry.

The BPD Special Enforcement Unit uses most of the same uniforms and equipment as stated above, but are also allowed civilian clothing for undercover operations. Raid vests are used for executing warrant searches and field assignments.

The BPD Civil Disturbance Team wears black 5.11 Tactical two piece tactical duty uniforms, Galls Upper Body Protection System foam chest protectors, Bell RS100 tactical helmets, MSA Advantage 1000 CBA/RCA gas masks, and Galls shin guards. Flex-cuffs are standard carry for riot situations.

The BPD Bomb Squad wears black Nomex battle dress uniforms with subdued gray tactical department patches for operations involving the unit. The Bomb Squad uses the First Defense EOD Bomb Disposal Suit for its EOD operations as well as two bomb disposal robots.

The BPD SWAT team wears black Nomex two piece battle dress uniforms with subdued gray tactical department patches, PROTECH Cover 6 Plus Level III-A modular body armor, MSA Advantage 1000 CBA/RCA gas masks, and Safariland 6004 tactical holsters. Black PROTECH Delta LT ballistic helmets are worn during operations.

All police officers of the Bakersfield Police Department are issued a department standard sidearm. The current issue weapon is the GLOCK model 22 .40 S&W handgun.

Patrol officers of the BPD are given the option of carrying either a Remington model 870 12-gauge shotgun or a Colt AR-15 5.56 mm Government carbine as a vehicle stationed arm.

The BPD Civil Disturbance Team uses a variety of non-lethal riot control weapons. These include Penn Arms L8-40 fixed stock 40mm multi-launcher Riot gun firing rubber, wood, or riot-control agents, Precision Ordnance Products 'Stingball' grenades, Defense Technology 'Han-Ball' and 'Tripple Chaser' CS grenades, 12 gauge bean-bag, rubber and wood rounds fired from Remington 870 shotguns, TASER International X-26 tasers, and Monadnock polycarbonate riot batons, and 48" x 24" x 1/8" concave plastic riot shields.

The BPD SWAT team uses both the Colt model LE6933 M-4 Commando and model LE6921 M-4 Carbine in 5.56 mm with both Trijicon RX30-14 Reflex and TA01NSN ACOG sights and SureFire M900A vertical foregrip weapon lights with one weapon issued with an M203 40 mm grenade launcher for less-lethal ordinance, Benelli model M-1 Tactical Entry 12-gauge semi-auto shotgun with ghost ring sights and Surefire handle mounted tactical lights, a Remington model 870 12-gauge pump shotgun for entry\less-lethal ordinance and a Penn Arms L8-40 fixed stock 40mm multi-launcher Riot gun firing rubber, wood, or riot-control agents. SWAT snipers use customized Remington model 700 Police 7.62 mm bolt action rifles with Leupold scopes. Enrty teams use Defense Technology No.25 distraction devices as well as 'Han-Ball', 'Tripple Chaser' and 40mm lanunched CS grenades.

The Bakersfield Police Department operates Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors as a standard patrol vehicle. The cruisers are in the standard black and white configuration with Code 360 light bars, MX700s and newer Code 3 LED Lightbars. Their standard siren system is the Code 3 MasterCom with a Z100 100W speaker, although some of the newer cruisers have new siren systems. All BPD cruisers are equipped with Microsoft Windows based mobile data terminals and Motorola console communication radios. Currently, the department is now adding new equipment that will better aide officers during operations and field investigations. The new equipment is to include vehicle licence plate scanners that can search statewide databases on the spot for DUI offenses and stolen vehicles. Curisers also carry handheld fingerprint scanners known as Blue Check for instantaneous field identification. Also, the BPD is in the use of in-car lineups software package for the mobile data terminals. The program known as COPLINK is connected to major law enforcement databases around the state of California to complie data on possible suspect information. E-cite citation devices are also carried aboard BPD cruisers.

The BPD Traffic unit operates Harley Davidson Electra Glide-Police motorcycles in standard black and white configuration with Motorola communication radios, Blue Check handheld fingerprint scanners, and E-cite citation devices. They also operate standard patrol cruisers with dash mounted radar for use during inclement weather.

The BPD Investigations Bureau uses Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors in civilian color schemes equipped with Microsoft Windows based mobile data terminals with the Coplink system, Blue Check handheld fingerprint scanners, Motorola communication radios and dash mounted emergency lights, as well as numerous civilian vehicles for clandestine operations.

The BPD Special Operations Unit operate Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors in the standard black and white configuration with CODE 360 light bars. They are equipped with Microsoft Windows based mobile data terminals with the Coplink system, Blue Check handheld fingerprint scanners, and Motorola console communication radios as well as dash mounted emergency lights.

The BPD Patrol Service Technicians operate Ford F-150 and Dodge Dakota pickups in all white configuration with department logos. All pickups come equipped with Motorola console communication radios as well as various traffic control tools and devices.

The BPD also operates various specialized vehicles for different operations. These include a Ford Expedition for commercial vehicle operations, six BMW G 650 Xchallenge dirt bikes for off-road and river patrol use, two Yamaha Rhino 4x4 utility vehicles for off-road and river patrol use, Ford and Chevrolet Econoline and Spartan vans for crime scene, crime prevention, prisoner transport use, one Navistar International DuraStar Custom truck for use by the Bomb Squad, one Freightliner Trucks LDV mobile command post for use in emergency operations, one specialized MT-55 ladder van truck for use by the SWAT team, and one Lenco BearCat armored rescue vehicle for use in emergency recovery and SWAT operations. All vehicles are adorned with the Bakersfield Police name and logo.

Academy and training

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The Bakersfield Police Department has had a variety of training academies through out its existence. While most of the academies were run by the BPD with the goal of training solely BPD officers, there has been two occasions when the department, for fiscal reasons, joined with another agency to fund and run a joint academy to train multiple agency officers. The most recent incarnation that the BPD operated was the Bakersfield Law Enforcement Training Academy located on the grounds of Bakersfield College, which began operations in January 1999 and culminated with the graduating of Class 01/99 on June 5, 1999. The Academy continued to train officers for Bakersfield Police and other agencies until 2008 when a fiscal crisis demanded that the department once again be joined with the Kern County Sheriff Department to train law enforcement officers. Currently both the BPD and the KCSD command the Kern Regional Law Enforcement Training Academy, located on Norris Rd. The KRLETA is accredited by and follows the criteria set forth by the California commission of Peace Officers Standards and Training.

Fallen officers

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Since the establishment of the Bakersfield Police Department, seven officers have given their lives in service to the city of Bakersfield.

OfficerDate of DeathDetails
City Marshal Thomas Jefferson PackardMonday, April 20, 1903Gunfire
Officer Frank SparksSaturday, June 16, 1917Motorcycle accident
Officer Aaron Alexander TrentWednesday, August 22, 1917Struck by train
Officer Floyd B.D.W. CummingsMonday, January 7, 1952Fall
Officer William Lord RuckerSunday, July 20, 1952Motorcycle accident
Sergeant Patrick Don VegasFriday, June 20, 1980Motorcycle accident
Officer William Leonard SikolaSunday, July 17, 1983Vehicle pursuit


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The Bakersfield Police Department has established an informational website that allows the citizens of Bakersfield the opportunity to be involved in solving criminal cases within the Bakersfield community. The "Bakersfield Police Open-Case Files" is a continuously updated website that permits citizens to review open and unsolved cases and report any and all information that they may have that may assist the department in solving cold cases and leading to the arrest and conviction of outstanding criminals.

The Bakersfield Police Department provides an informational website that tracts the crime rates in the city. "Bakersfield Police Crime Statistics" is an interactive website that provides the statistics for crime reporting and calls for service in a given area. Users of the site can locate their area within the city of Bakersfield and see the level of crime for a particular date. The site lists areas by maps, calls for service levels and the location of crimes that have occurred.

The Bakersfield Police Department has authorized the establishment of a multimedia informational website other than their official city website. The "BPDInsider" is a monthly updated website that provides topics of interest and question that can be answered about the Bakersfield Police Department. The sight was fully operational as of March 12, 2008.

The Bakersfield Police Activities League maintains a website dedicated to their efforts to prevent juvenile delinquency by providing skills through education, athletics and opportunities to at risk youth.

The Bakersfield Police Officers Association maintains a website dedicated to the department's police officer union as well as giving information to the general public about officer activities and events.


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The Bakersfield Police Department has been criticized over the years as being a department that relies on heavy handed tactics and over use of force when dealing with crime. A number of complaints by criminals, suspects, families of people involved in investigations by the BPD as well as witnesses have surfaced in recent years. Complaints of excessive force, racial profiling, harassment and delays in response for calls for service have been levied against the department.

In March 2001, Tony Eddington and Robert Johnson were stopped in the city of Bakersfield for a traffic violation. The two men, who are black, say they were ordered to strip from their clothing in order to be searched on the roadside. The men contend the search was racially motivated. The two men sued the BPD for damages exceeding $350,000.00. The BPD settled out of court for an undisclosed sum and have since installed a permanent policy detailing rules on when officers may conduct strip searches in the field.[citation needed]

There have been many complaints against the BPD for excessive use of force. Most notably is when there is an officer involved shooting. Many critics of the department have made the charge of shooting first, asking questions later and firing too many rounds at suspects. A federal probe of the BPD was begun in July 2003. The probe would seek information and investigate some 47 complaints against the BPD for use of force and racial profiling. In January 2008, the United States Department of Justice cleared the Bakersfield Police Department of any wrong doing stemming from the complaints.

Policy changes
In 2004, newly promoted chief William Rector discontinued the department policy that had allowed BPD officers to use leather covered lead saps as secondary impact weapons in addition to the standard batton. The BPD was one of the last departments in the state of California to still allow the use of leather covered saps.

Because of the Department of Justice investigation and stemming from other citizen complaints, The BPD has made several changes to its policy and procedures. Key policy changes have included:

  • Creation of a use-of-force manual and reporting system

All rules on use of force for officers have now been compiled into a manual. The reporting system is now more defined. For example, when an officer uses force at a scene, the sergeant makes a report that is put into a system.

  • Deployment and use of chemical agents

The department added a written policy dictating that pepper spray may only be used closer than three feet from the subject under extreme circumstances. And it added a written policy on decontaminating someone after they have been pepper-sprayed.

  • Shooting at moving vehicles

Officers should not put themselves in the path of a moving vehicle that creates the necessity to shoot at a vehicle.

  • Internal Affairs investigative protocols

The internal affairs section and detective division investigate officer-involved shootings. One department is used to investigate officer-involved shootings.

  • Canine deployment language and reporting

An officer with a K-9 must warn a suspect before releasing the dog.

On July 5, 2008, it was announced that the BPD will begin using polygraphs as a part of the hiring process to become an officer with the department. The BPD had resisted the concept for several years as other California agencies were introducing polygraphs into their background investigations of law enforcement new hires. The new policy will take effect in early 2009.[citation needed]

In June 2009, the BPD began full on-line crime reporting for citizens. This is the mandatory way for residents of Bakersfield to report non-emergency crime. The department, in the past, had on-line crime reporting, but this was optional. The department now requires all non-emergency crimes to be reported on the department website instead of having a Police Service Technician respond to a call for service.

Portrayals in fiction

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A television sitcom entitled Bakersfield P.D. aired on the FOX network during the 1993-1994 season. It dealt with life inside the Bakersfield Police Department, portraying the department as an incompetent, backwoods police force. It starred Chris Mulkey, Tony Plana, and Brian Doyle-Murray.

The Clint Eastwood movie Any Which Way You Can featured scenes in the city of Bakersfield with a car chase scene involving Bakersfield Police officers.

A fourth season episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, entitled "Dead Ringer", featured a secondary murder plot involving a female Bakersfield Police detective as a possible suspect.

In 1999, KB Toys released a line of exclusive diecast metal toy cars based on classic hotrod cars featuring real city police logos and paint schemes. "Cop Rods" by Mattel featured a tail dragger hotrod decorated in the Bakersfield Police department style.

See also

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  • List of law enforcement agencies in California
  • Bakersfield

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