WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF/BCN) — Walnut Creek city officials announced Wednesday that they hired San Leandro Police Capt. Jamie Knox to be its new police chief.

Knox will begin his duties July 26. He takes over for interim chief Dan Pratt, who’s been on the job since April. Walnut Creek’s last permanent chief, Tom Chaplin, retired in late 2020.

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Knox grew up in Roseville, where he started his law enforcement career as a police explorer, then as a dispatcher. Rocklin hired him to be an officer in 1996, where he moved up the ranks before moving on in 2015 to serve as a captain in Novato. He joined the San Leandro department in 2017, overseeing its service bureau and, most recently, its operations bureau.

New Walnut Creek Police Chief Jamie Knox, who comes to the city from San Leandro (courtesy City of Walnut Creek)

“I want to thank our City Manager, Dan Buckshi, for giving me this amazing opportunity,” Knox said, in a statement. “Walnut Creek has been on my radar for years as a great place to visit, and now I get to build partnerships with our community and enable our police team to provide the best possible public safety service. I’m excited to meet the women and men of Walnut Creek PD, and to get to know our residents.”

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The Walnut Creek department has had its share of issues in recent years, including how it responded to Black Lives Matter protesters in 2020 and the police killing of Black resident Miles Hall while he experienced a mental health crisis in 2019. Contra Costa County’s district attorney didn’t find sufficient cause to charge the two officers involved.

“The pandemic forced a pause on community policing, something we value in Walnut Creek,” Walnut Creek Mayor Kevin Wilk said in a statement. “The timing is good to again be able to get our police department in partnership with our residents and visitors. I’m confident chief Knox will find Walnut Creek to be the kind of place that values his style of outreach.”

Knox has a bachelor’s degree in emergency management and a master’s degree in organizational leadership. He graduated from the FBI National Academy and the Senior Management Institute for Police in Boston. Knox and his husband Scott live with two Chihuahuas, Maddie and Rudy.

The city said it will announce a formal swearing-in ceremony soon.

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