ORINDA -- Police Chief Jeff Jennings is stepping down to take a job as deputy chief of BART police -- and the city has already found a new chief.

Contra Costa County sheriff's Lt. Scott S. Haggard has been hired to fill the position Jennings is leaving behind Friday. Haggard began his new job Thursday.

A graduate of California State University Sacramento, Haggard joined the Sheriff's Office in 1996. He most recently served as custody services facility commander at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond.

"I look forward to serving the community to keep Orinda a safe place to work and live," Haggard said in a statement.

Jennings's retirement from the Sheriff's Office -- which provides Orinda police services by contract -- comes three years after he was chosen to oversee the city's Police Department.

During that time, the department's small staff increased their presence in the city by teaming up with various community groups on business and school watch programs, Jennings wrote in an email.The department also initiated a home burglary audit program to help residents secure their homes, and collaborated with the city's Citizen Emergency Response Team on Orinda Night Out, an annual crime awareness event.

Jennings, 47, said he is especially proud of the department's efforts at transparency.

"I believe in transparent governance and I feel that through our efforts as the police department, we have established an excellent reputation as being not only transparent but responsive and proactive in policing," he said.

City Manager Janet Keeter praised Jennings in a newsletter this week announcing his new job with BART police.

"Chief Jennings has done an outstanding job for the Orinda community and the city organization and he will be greatly missed," Keeter wrote.

Jennings has worked for the county for 21 years in a variety of departments including detention, transportation, administration and county patrol. He has served as a deputy, sergeant, watch commander and lieutenant.

Jennings' final yearly salary with the department including adjustments is $137,304. He starts his new job Monday.