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Turlock welcomes a familiar face to the rank of chief
New Turlock Police Chief Ninus Amirfar closes his eyes and takes in the moment as his wife Isabel looks on proudly during the swearing in ceremony Thursday morning. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/ The Journal

In a ceremony marked by an overflowing crowd, local dignitaries, and past and present chiefs, the Turlock community came together Thursday to officially make Ninus C. Amirfar, a 27-year veteran of the police department, the newest police chief.

“This department really is his second family,” said Turlock City Manager Gary Hampton. “I expect Ninus Amirfar will elevate the police department to levels no one else has previously achieved.”

The promotion to chief caps a long career at the Turlock Police Department for Amirfar, who began with the department in 1990. He came in as an officer with one year experience under his belt from his time at the Alameda County Sheriff’s 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.

“He has made his imprint on almost every part of the city,” said Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth, who recalled his first meeting Amirfar when he was a student at Turlock High School and Amirfar was the newly appointed school resource officer. “He puts the community first at every step along the way.”

Amirfar, who had 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. On Tuesday the Turlock City Council unanimously voted to hire Amirfar as the police chief.

“The vote I took on Tuesday was one of my proudest moments as mayor,” Soiseth said.

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. Over the course of his career Amirfar has repeated the peace officer’s oath several times, but Thursday proved to be the most emotional for him, as he accepted the hefty responsibility of protecting life and property in the city.

“I love this community,” Amirfar told the crowd. “The badge we wear is a sign of trust from the community and we can never violate that trust.

"I’m very proud to be a member of this community and work with the men and women of our police department,” Amirfar continued.

Amirfar is the first Assyrian to serve as a police chief in Turlock and the Assyrian community turned out in abundance at the ceremony to show their appreciation.

“The Assyrian community in Turlock has put down roots and has really invested in this community,” said Turlock Councilmember Matthew Jacob. “This is a very proud moment for our entire community.”