King City police chief named new top cop in Atascadero

Bob Masterson


The city of Atascadero has hired the head of the King City Police Department to serve as Atascadero’s new police chief.

On Tuesday, the Atascadero City Council confirmed the hire of Bob Masterson, following a nationwide search for a new chief. Masterson will replace Jerel Haley, who retired in October after serving as Atascadero’s chief since 2011.

Prior to becoming police chief in King City, Masterson spent 20 years working for the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department. He also served as police chief for the College of Sequoias Community College District.

“Bob is the right person to lead the police department at this time,” Atascadero City Manager Rachelle Rickard said in a statement. “He has organizational leadership experience and a proven community outreach background that are both key to success in the chief’s role.”

Masterson took over the helm of the King City Police Department in 2016, following the 2014 arrests of the department’s former chief, acting chief and several officers on a host of charges, including bribery, embezzlement and making threats. Masterson was hired by and worked for King City executive Steve Adams, the former Arroyo Grande city manager who was ousted following a 2014 sex scandal. 

Adams said Masterson’s record in King City has been extraordinary. [King City Rustler]

“He rebuilt King City’s police operation to be a model department, implemented a comprehensive plan that saw annual shootings decrease from 32 in 2017 to only four in the following three years and led a dedicated effort to rebuild trust and a positive relationship between the police department and community,” Adams said.

Masterson is expected to begin work as Atascadero chief in early January.