Simpkins named new Danville police chief


Following a thorough selection process, Steve Simpkins rose to the top of the applicant pool and was named police chief Monday. The 16-year veteran of the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff is expected to start this post in August. This would make the fifth police chief in Danville's 28-year history.

Simpkins, 39, would replace current police chief Chris Wenzel who held the position for seven years. He was a watch commander with the sheriff's department and holds a bachelor's degree in organizational leadership from Chapman University and Associate of Science in criminal justice from Solano College. His prior experience with the department is said to include working in field operations, custody services and assignments in the contract cities of Orinda and San Ramon. Danville contracts with the Office of the Sheriff to provide police services for the Town.

Wenzel said Simpkins was one of four candidates who applied for the job after one dropped out. They took part in day-long interview with various community leaders before Town Manager Joe Calabrigo decided who to hire.

Calibrigo said Simpkins has a "well rounded background in law enforcement and is committed to public service," adding that he was "impressed with his sincerity, communication skills and his commitment."

As for Wenzel, he is headed back to the county as the administrative commander before helping Simpkins become familiar with Danville.

"It's another chapter," he said. "It's going to be challenging. Danville is an awesome place and we've done some really good things."

Simpkins resides in Clayton with his wife and four children.

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