It's easy to forget when you look at the uniforms and the cars that Danville's police force is contracted through Contra Costa County. But the fact remains that they are deputies with the Sheriff's Office and hold ranks within that organization.
Normally, Danville's police chiefs are lieutenants during their tenure in office, which generally runs about four years. Current Chief Chris Wenzel has been in office six years, and last month he became the first sitting chief to be promoted to captain.
Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich announced the news at a recent council meeting. Arnerich talked about the service Wenzel has provided during his years in Danville and congratulated the newly minted captain.
"Chris has done a great job for us, I'm proud that Danville has such an effective and proactive police force," he said.
Town Manager Joe Calabrigo said that over the years he has had conversations with Sheriff Warren Rupf about Wenzel's performance. He added that sometimes taking the job of Danville police chief can slow an officer's rise through the ranks at the Sheriff's Department.
"Sometimes their promotability is delayed by taking this position," Calabrigo explained.
Wenzel's stay as police chief is the second longest running in town history. Calabrigo said Sheriff Ken Sandy held the position for a decade, from 1982-1992.
"He's done an outstanding job for us," Calabrigo stated about Wenzel. "He does a great job of balancing the demands of the town and the demands of the county."
Wenzel expressed appreciation for the support of town officials and Sheriff Rupf.
"I think we've accomplished a lot here in Danville," he said. "We've got a great police department and our guys get the job done."
Modestly, he added, "I've been here longer than the normal four year period, so I must be doing something OK."
In addition to his new promotion, Wenzel will be expanding his knowledge base as well. Beginning in early April, the chief will be attending the FBI Academy for three months, working with FBI officials and other law enforcement officers from around the nation.
Wenzel said he was excited to be going to the academy.
"It's a chance to see what other people in law enforcement are doing, what techniques they are using, and then bring that back here to Danville," he explained.