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City picks Turlock Police veteran as new chief
Chief of Police Nino Amirfar - photo by Photo Contributed

The City of Turlock has selected Capt. Nino Amirfar, a 27-year veteran of law enforcement, as the city’s newest police chief.

Amirfar, who has been filling the role of interim police chief since the departure of former Turlock Police Chief Robert Jackson in August 2016, was selected out of a pool of 38 applicants from throughout the western United States. The selection process included eight finalists moving forward to interviews with three separate panels representing the community, executive law enforcement and internal city staff.

"There were a number of well-qualified candidates, but Captain Nino Amirfar stood well above the rest," said Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth. "He's one of the city's hardest working employees whose dedication to Turlock is unmatched. Captain Amirfar's focus on listening to our community, understanding our community and working alongside our community — along with his strong record of defending our city for over two decades —earned him the position of Turlock's next chief of police."

Amirfar’s career in law enforcement began in 1989 with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. The following year he was hired on at the Turlock Police Department. Over his career he has been a field training officer, a member of the bike patrol and the drug suppression unit. He also was the first school resource officer in Turlock and was instrumental in bringing the Every 15 Minutes program to Turlock and Stanislaus County. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2007 and soon after was promoted to a lieutenant. In 2015 he was promoted to the rank of captain and oversaw the Special Operations Division, which includes general investigations, the Narcotics Enforcement Team, Animal Services and the Community Outreach Response and Engagement unit.

“I realized early on in my career that I had to be more involved in the leadership of this organization in order to realize my goals and dreams in the manner our police department interacted and served our community,” Amirfar said. “I am so proud of our men and women in the police department, both sworn (officers) and non-sworn (support staff) for their professionalism and hard work in meeting the needs of the citizens of Turlock.  For these reasons, I chose to put my hat in the ring for the leadership positions as they presented themselves.

“I feel very fortunate to be selected as the Chief of Police for the City of Turlock,” Amirfar continued. “I am very humbled and excited as this is beyond my dreams.”

Amirfar earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Union Institute University in 2009. Over the years Amirfar has earned numerous awards and accommodations, including two department issued excellence awards, and a distinguished service award for field training officers.

“Captain Nino Amirfar has spent 27 years policing the Turlock community and assumes the police chief position with a deep understanding of community values relating to its safety and quality of life. There will be no acclamation period necessary, he clearly understands the critical importance city council places on public safety and the expectation of the highest level of customer service," said City Manager Gary Hampton. “My expectations as the City Manager wherein I demand the utmost professionalism, honesty and integrity — will be no surprise either for Captain Amirfar.  I'm very proud of Nino Amirfar and excited about his leadership over the Turlock Police Department.”

Amirfar was born and raised n the Bay Area. He became familiar with Turlock through his Assyrian heritage and said he jumped at the chance to work at the department. Amirfar will be the first Assyrian to serve as a police chief in Turlock.

“Nino is a wonderful person and a better police chief,” said Assyrian American Civic Club President Sam David. “It’s a great opportunity for a member of the Assyrian community to serve Turlock. We’re all extremely proud of Nino and feel that he’ll do a terrific job.”