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Chief Kiely Planning For Spring Retirement
Sheriff’s Lieutenant Ed Ridenour, left, alongside Riverbank Police Chief Erin Kiely await the start of a recent City Council meeting where Ridenour was presented to the council, introduced as Kiely’s replacement. The current chief is planning on retiring next spring. RIC MCGINNIS/THE NEWS

It will be somewhat a ‘changing of the guard’ in Riverbank next spring.

Members of the Riverbank City Council have unanimously approved a resolution appointing Lieutenant Ed Ridenour to the position of Chief of Police for Riverbank Police Services (RPS) in lieu of current Chief Erin Kiely’s notice to retire in March 2020. The announcement and approval was made at the City Council meeting earlier this month with all councilmembers in attendance along with Ridenour, Kiely and Stanislaus County Sheriff Jeff Dirkse.

“We are sad but very happy for him,” stated City Manager Sean Scully at the meeting regarding Kiely’s retirement. “The applicants that participated were all highly qualified and excellent applicants.”

The City of Riverbank contracts for law enforcement services with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department which staffs RPS. With notice from Kiely about his upcoming retirement the Sheriff’s Department conducted an internal recruitment for his replacement in October. Sheriff Dirkse and the Command staff authorized the Riverbank City Council to participate in the process so they held interviews of qualified candidates in November. Ridenour was the candidate that was selected by the council.

Mayor Richard O’Brien thanked Dirkse for the qualified candidates that were presented to the council.

“You had two fine candidates and either one of them would have done a great job but you have selected an outstanding young man to fill Erin’s shoes,” said Dirkse. “As he … well he is not going to ride off into the sunset because his home is to the east so he can’t actually ride that way or it would be a very long ride. He has just done a fabulous job both for our Department and for your City and we are very proud of him and thank him for his service. I think Ed will do just as well for you. So we are excited about that.”

O’Brien asked Ridenour to step up to the podium to express why he wants to be in the City of Riverbank and, in a humorous aside, asked if he (Ridenour) can put up with him (O’Brien).

“I will do my best Mayor,” stated Ridenour at the podium. “I look forward to working in this community. As a young deputy I was here once before and I spent many years here. I enjoyed the community very much … I look forward to being the Chief of this community and once again serving this great community and working with them and creating a team partnership with this community.”

According to the statements at the meeting and noted on the agenda, Ridenour is a 20-year veteran with the Sheriff’s Department and has a wide range of operational and management experience. Oddly enough Ridenour in the early years of his career was stationed as a patrol deputy within the City of Riverbank. During his career with the Sheriff’s Department he was Community Deputy in Salida with the Special Vehicles Operations Unit, Chief Deputy Coroner, Patrol Watch Commander, and recently as the Court Services Commander.

The Mayor also asked if Chief Kiely would say a few words and he obliged.

“I will just echo what has already been said,” expressed Kiely. “I have known Lt. Ridenour, future Chief Ridenour, for approximately 20 years. I have had the chance to work alongside of him in a number of different assignments and a number of different situations. He has established himself all along that timeline as a consummate law enforcement professional and I know that whatever service he provides for the city it will be equal to or exceed my own.”

There are still a few months before Kiely retires which leaves time for Ridenour to transition into the role of Chief of Police for RPS.

“So we will have plenty of opportunity to go ahead and put our transition plan in place,” added Kiely. “We have already met several times. We will continue to meet and it should be a seamless transition.”

“We appreciate what you have done for us,” said O’Brien.