SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF/BCN) — Santa Cruz officials appointed Deputy Police Chief Bernie Escalante to serve as the department’s interim chief effective later this month, officials announced Thursday.

Escalante will replace Chief Andrew Mills, who is leaving Santa Cruz to be the chief of the Palm Springs Police Department in Southern California.

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A Santa Cruz High School alumnus, Escalante has served 25 years with Santa Cruz police, working his way up the ranks to sergeant in 2003, lieutenant in 2009 and deputy chief in 2020. He will take over as interim chief on Oct. 30, city officials said.

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Mills came to the Santa Cruz Police Department in 2017 after serving as Eureka’s police chief and starting his career with the San Diego Police Department. He will begin his new position in Palm Springs in early November.

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