Calif. police chief to serve as acting fire chief

By FireRescue1 Staff

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. — A police chief will also serve as the city’s acting fire chief when the current chief retires.

Easy Reader News reported that Manhattan Beach Police Department Chief Derrick Abell was appointed by city manager Bruce Moe to head the fire department for an expected time period of eight to 10 weeks while a permanent chief is decided on.

“Chief Abell is an outstanding leader who is well respected throughout the organization and community, and I have the utmost of faith in his abilities,” Moe said. “That, coupled with his strong management team at the police department, gave us the opportunity to tap Chief Abell’s talents during the transition.”

The city’s current chief, Robert Espinosa, is set to retire April 27 after the Manhattan Beach Firefighters Association gave him a vote of no confidence. Espinosa had previously planned to retire in December, but was asked by the city to stay another six months before the union vote went public.

“A city should never be in a position where the community is asked to choose between its fire chief and their firefighters,” Espinosa said in an email announcing his retirement for the second time. “I do not desire to hold a public discussion about the differences management and labor have.”

Manhattan Beach Fire Department Capt. Dave Shenbaum said the firefighters’ association fully supports Chief Abell’s appointment.

“We all know Police Chief Derrick Abell and hold him in the highest regard and have great respect for him,” Capt. Shenbaum said. “We are eager to work with him and have confidence that his leadership will bring our department together and move us in a positive direction. Chief Abell is a person of character who is more than capable of assisting us to achieve this goal.”

Firefighters added that they hope whoever is selected for their new permanent chief holds the same “leadership traits and core values as Chief Abell — a collaborative and communicative leadership style based on mutual respect and trust.”

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