Atkinson becomes chief; two more officers hired
Atkinson has been serving as interim chief since Chris Gallagher left in September to become chief of Los Banos, Calif.
Atkinson joined the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office in 1989 as a resident deputy of Eagle Lake. Former Sheriff Ron Jarrell hired him.
In April 1992, Atkinson joined the SPD force and was promoted to sergeant in 1996. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2003 and commander in 2005. He also attended the FBI Academy in 2005.
Atkinson grew up in Westwood and graduated from Westwood High School in 1983. His mother Sharon still lives in Westwood. His father Gene died last year. He also has three brothers who all live in the area.
He has been married to Jill for 17 years and has twin son, Jacob and Jordan.
At the meeting Atkinson said he was looking forward to being in the position for a long time.
The council also approved hiring Jeffery E. Hopkins at the Feb. 6 meeting and Roderick D. Gentle at the Jan. 3 meeting to fill vacant positions as police officers with SPD.
Hopkins joins the force with more than six years of experience with the Department of Defense Police in El Segundo, Calif. While with the DOD Police, Hopkins enforced the California Penal Code laws as well as the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He held the rank of Corporal with the DOD Police.
He also has two years experience as a police reserve officer for the city of Sierra Madre, Calif.
Hopkins fills a vacant position that was held by Officer Alan Inman, who is now the traffic officer under an Office of Traffic Safety grant.
Gentle was a school resource officer with Grant Unified School District. He said he was excited about relocating to Susanville from Sacramento.
He fills a position vacant within the SPD since July 2006.
Atkinson said of both men, “I believe Mr. Gentle and Mr. Hopkins will be great additions and assets to the department, city and community.”
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