PINOLE -- Pinole has tapped Cmdr. Neil Gang, one of its own well-traveled and multiskilled police officers, to be the new chief of the department.

Following previous Police Chief John Hardester's sudden retirement in April, the post has been filled on an interim basis since May by Richard Word, a former Oakland and Vacaville police chief.

Gang has served with police departments in different parts of the country and has expertise in several specialties, including K-9 units and crisis negotiation, according to a city news release.

Gang will be paid $148,572 a year plus medical, dental and retirement benefits. He also will get a car allowance.

Gang's appointment will take effect Sunday and he will be sworn in at the Sept. 2 Pinole City Council meeting.

Gang's 26-year police career includes stints with the West Windsor, N.J., Pembroke Pines, Fla., and Surprise, Ariz., police departments. He joined the Pinole department in 2013.

As a lieutenant in Surprise, Gang was assigned to the Field Operations Division and oversaw the day shift patrols, the canine unit, the sergeants' and officers' field training programs, the Crisis Negotiations Team, Police Reserve Program, the School Resource Officer Program and Special Events Operations.

Gang also has K-9 expertise in explosive detection and stadium security explosive sweeps and searches. He has trained with top experts in the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, according to the news release.


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He is a recent graduate of the California POST Management Class and also a graduate of the Northwestern School of Police Staff and Command, where he was class president and received the Franklin Kremel Award for excellence in leadership.

He is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and International Hostage Negotiators Association.

Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760. Follow him at Twitter.com/tomlochner.