For their next police chief, Dos Palos city leaders have decided to stay “in-house” with the selection of Cliff Battles to head the department. He has been serving as the interim chief since Rich McEachin resigned last November to accept another law enforcement job in the Bay Area.

Battles is a Fresno native who graduated from Duncan Polytechnic High School. He then enlisted in the United States Navy. After his service, he attended College of the Sequoias in Visalia as well as Merced College.  He is a graduate of the COS police academy.

Battles began his career in Dos Palos as a reserve officer in 2005. He became a full-time employee in 2006, serving as the city’s animal control officer before going on full time patrol. In 2018, he was promoted to Corporal and a year later to Sergeant.

“I am feeling really good that the city is entrusting me with the police department,” Battles said. “I am very honored.”

He of course stated that the “continued safety” of the citizens of Dos Palos will be his No. 1 priority.

“Crime is not too bad (in town),” he said.  “It is considerably down from what it used to be.  We have taken a very proactive position of contacting more people and it’s made a big difference over the last few years.  It’s been a real team effort.”

Battles intends to increase staffing of the department within the budget guidelines, streamline certain areas to be more efficient “and increase the safeness of the community.”

He added that the morale and spirit of the staff is high, “and I am looking forward to training new people coming in behind me.”

Dos Palos city manager Dewayne Jones said that there were 13 applicants for the job.

“Cliff, in his time here, has worked a lot of special assignments and developed relationships with other agencies,” Jones explained.  “I am really looking forward to working with him.”

City Council member Debbie Orlando was very happy with Battles’ selection, noting his long experience here in town.

“He has grown quite a bit and has come a long way since he joined the force,” Orlando explained.  “He has the right balance of administration and patrol, which I feel will be very beneficial.”

Orlando added that the interview committee, made up of law enforcement brass from Firebaugh, Los Banos, and Merced thought Battles “would be the best choice at this time.”

Battles and his family make their home in Dos Palos.  The new chief said that his hobbies include hunting and fishing “and being in the mountains anytime I can.”

David Borboa