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Orinda police chief Haggard departing; new chief coming on

By Jennifer Modenessi, Contra Costa Times
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Feb. 20--ORINDA -- Less than a year after welcoming police Chief Scott Haggard, the city of Orinda has hired a new top cop.

Contra Costa County Sheriff's Lt. Mark Nagel will take over the reins of the police department next week from Haggard, who is leaving Orinda to return to the county sheriff's office. Orinda contracts with the sheriff's office for police services. Haggard will work with the new chief until Tuesday, before he starts his new assignment with the sheriff's Watch Commander Program March 3.

A former custody services commander at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond, Haggard came to Orinda last May to replace Jeff Jennings, who retired from the sheriff's office and became deputy chief of BART police.

In an e-mail, departing chief Haggard said he was able to recruit some quality officers to work in the city during his tenure, but was not in Orinda long enough to "really accomplish" what he hoped to do.

"Life throws curveballs at times," Haggard wrote, and said he is leaving for "personal reasons."

Nagel, 47, comes to Orinda after serving as the sheriff's office lieutenant for technical services in Martinez. Under terms set by the sheriff's office, Nagel will earn a base monthly salary of $9,197 with potential for a chief's incentive of 3 to 9 percent, according to the city. City Manager Janet Keeter said she plans to formally introduce the new chief at a council meeting March 4.

Born and raised in Oakland, Nagel attended Saint Mary's College and graduated with a business degree. Before beginning his career in law enforcement, Nagel worked in security and as a claims adjuster with State Farm Insurance.

But what Nagel described as a desire "not be stuck in an office," coupled with a need to help people, led him to the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office, where he was hired in 2000. After graduating from the police academy, he worked as a deputy at the Richmond jail before doing recruiting for the sheriff's office. Then came two years of patrol service in Lafayette, which Nagel said was one of the best assignments he's had.

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"It was a loose-knit group and we worked well together," Nagel recalled. "Similar to Orinda, (Lafayette police) care about safety, care about community and care about each other."

After several more opportunities, including stints in Martinez, Alamo and Richmond, Nagel was promoted to lieutenant and was station house commander in Martinez and part of the Watch Commander's Program before his last assignment as assistant commander in the technical services division, which oversees dispatch, radios and other technology.

But unlike past police chiefs, Nagel happens to live in Orinda. City Manager Keeter said having a chief who lives in town is a first since she's been helming the city.

"That's a unique opportunity for Orinda, to have a chief who resides in the community, understands the community, knows the community and is obviously a good fit," Keeter said.

For his part, Nagel said he's looking forward to working with residents to maintain safety in Orinda, and wants to stay on top of traffic concerns and the burglaries plaguing Lamorinda.

"I certainly have a vested interest because I live here," the new chief said. "What affects the community affects my home and family."

Nagel starts his new job Monday.


(c)2014 the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)

Visit the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.) at

Distributed by MCT Information Services



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