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New police chief sworn in for Turlock
Jason Hedden
Jason Hedden was sworn in as Turlock's newest police chief on Wednesday (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

For 16 years, Jason Hedden has been making a daily commute down to Los Banos from his Turlock home to protect and serve that community. As of Wednesday, his commute got a lot shorter.

Hedden was sworn in as Turlock's newest police chief on Wednesday, taking on a role that has been filled by interims since Nino Amirfar retired in October 2020.

"I'm so proud to be part of the Turlock team and I'm honored to serve as your next police chief," Hedden said Wednesday. "I've been part of the Turlock community for most of my adult life. This is where my wife and I purchased our first home and this home, this community is the only home my kids have known. I've worked in neighboring Los Banos my entire career, while living here in Turlock. Every day I was waking up to drive 45 minutes to serve the residents of Los Banos and I wouldn't trade experience for anything. But here at home, I was just a spectator watching our police department do amazing work from the sidelines. I wanted to be part of the Turlock Police Department team and serve the community that I call home. I'm so grateful for this opportunity."

Hedden started his path towards a career in law enforcement at age 16, joining the Explorer Program with the California Highway Patrol and then the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, also serving as a Code Enforcement Officer in Waterford from 2001 to 2003. After graduating from the police academy in 2004, he went to work for the Los Banos Police Department, serving as a police officer, gang investigator, detective and traffic unit supervisor.

Hedden was promoted to Sergeant in 2010, and then Commander in 2013. Chief Hedden was assigned as the Administrative Commander overseeing investigations, narcotics task force, school resource officers, code enforcement and animal control. Hedden has also served as the Commander of Operations leading the patrol division, jail operations, fleet services, facilities and the traffic division. Hedden served as the Los Banos Interim Police Chief from March 2021 to October 2021.

"Team Turlock is just starting to come together and it's really exciting and rare to have a chief come in," said Turlock Mayor Amy Bublak at Wednesday's ceremony. "We've not had that many chiefs in the City of Turlock, so this is a really big moment for us."

Hedden’s formal education includes a Master of Science Degree from the University of San Diego, completion of the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Academy and a Bachelor of Science Degree from California Coast University. He has attained Intermediate, Advanced, Supervisory and Management certification through the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.

In 2022, Hedden received a Presidential appointment to the California League of Cities Policy Committee on Public Safety. The committee reviews issues related to law enforcement, fire and life safety policies, including emergency communications, and emergency services, such as ambulance and disaster preparedness.