Coming to Gridley to fill the shoes of Gridley-Biggs Police Chief Jack Storne would be no easy task for anyone to accomplish but Gary Keeler has the personality and regard for this community that made it possible. Nine years ago, Storne sat in on the committee that recommended Keeler and once again we owe Chief Storne a debt of gratitude.
Since that time Chief Keeler has made many friends and shown involvement in the community being a member of the Gridley Rotary Club and GUARDIAN besides his many involvements at the county level such as Chairman of the Board for Butte Interagency Narcotics Task Force, board member of Community Corrections Partnership, Treasurer of Central Sierra Chief's Association and board member of his church.
He instantly became a part of the community while gaining the respect and support of so many since day one. Chief Keeler feels privileged to have been sworn in as the Chief and feels it has been an honor to lead such a fine department.
"Let me start by thanking the City Council for having the confidence in me to appoint me. I am so grateful for their support of me over the years, but more importantly, to the department as a whole. They continue to adequately fund the police department so we can keep our staffing at a sufficient level to keep the public safe," he stated.
“Chief Keeler has done an outstanding job during his nine year tenure. Under his leadership, the Gridley-Biggs Police Department became an even more dedicated, professional force. The Cities of Gridley and Biggs are the grateful recipients of his law enforcement expertise and guidance—he has left his mark by establishing high standards for his officers and staff. We wish him all the best as he embarks on his future,” City Administrator Rob Hickey said.
Assistant Chief Dean Price stated, “Chief Keeler has long been a solid leader of the Gridley-Biggs Police Department in his nine years as Chief. He has fostered his personal leadership attributes of courage, compassion and commitment to the police department personnel in their delivery of services to the communities of Gridley and Biggs. I am grateful to have served under his command and value the mentoring he has provided me. I wish him much success in his future endeavors.”
Assistant Chief Price will take over as Interim Police Chief January 1, 2014 and brings with him many years of experience. Working in Gridley the past 17 years, first as a level one officer in 1996 and then spending 18 months as the City's Director of Finance before he became a full time officer.
Gang enforcement has been an important part of Keeler's time as Chief and the gang unit has seen seen tremendous success in prosecutions the past several years. The department integrates gang education with strict enforcement partnering with the school district and local service groups to raise public awareness and reduce gang violence.
Page 2 of 2 - Training and professionalism has always been at the top of Keeler's requirements.
"My goal was to provide a high level of professional service, but with a personal small town feel. Our response times continue to be the quickest in the County. Our conviction and solvability rates also are at the top in the County. Police work is not done in a vacuum. Our work could not be done near as efficiently without the support of the City Council, the community and our partner public safety agencies," Keeler said.
Retired Assistant Police Chief Brian Cook said of his friend, “I really enjoyed serving for Gary. He is a really good guy and I wish him nothing but the best.”
Chief Keeler is quick to point out the strengths of his department and his appreciation for everyone who works for him.
"They made me proud so many times. I respect the hard work that they do, day in and day out. They often times work long hours in the cold, in the heat, at night when most people are sleeping and even on holidays. They put themselves in harm's way to protect this community 24/7. I appreciate and respect them and will miss being their Chief immensely," he said.
“Now and then in our professional lives we work with a person that will remain in our memory always. Police Chief Gary Keeler is one of those individuals in my life. Thank you Chief,” Councilwoman Jerry Fichter stated.
City of Biggs Mayor Roger Frith stated, “I appreciate Chief Keeler's leadership during his tenure as Police Chief for the Cities of Gridley and Biggs and I wish him well.”
Besides his department and the City Council, Chief Keeler thanks his wife and the rest of his family for their support during his entire career.
"My lovely wife has been the best spouse a police officer could ever want. She gave me unconditional support and love. I could go on and on, but I won't. Just know, I am a grateful and humble man. I am a blessed man to have had so much support throughout my career.”
The Cities of Gridley and Biggs have been blessed to have had Chief Keeler at the top of the ranks for the past nine years. 10-10 Good Buddy!