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Chief Gesell

Chief Steve Gesell Bio


Chief Stephen Gesell completed a distinguished 20-year career with the Scottsdale (AZ) Police Department rising to the rank of division commander responsible for 100 sworn and civilian employees.  He has a diverse professional background in policing that includes positions such as patrol officer, bicycle patrol officer, undercover narcotics detective, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration task force agent, internal affairs investigator, basic training sergeant, and detective sergeant.  His mid and upper management positions include service as a patrol watch commander, oversight of a section comprised of specialty patrol-based units, command over a multi-agency section comprised of covert units that primarily focused on drug enforcement and organized crime investigations leveraging key partnerships with the DEA, FBI and IRS, SWAT team commander, and finally division commander with oversight over all specialty patrol-based units as well as Detention.

In late 2009, Chief Gesell was selected as a commander for the Atascadero Police Department following a national recruitment. He was responsible for guiding staff members through the strategic planning process, ultimately resulting in the construction of a comprehensive 5-year strategic plan. Additionally, Chief Gesell served as the interim Atascadero Police Chief throughout the majority of 2011.

Chief Gesell was selected as San Luis Obispoís Chief of Police in January of 2012 following a national recruitment. His appointment fulfilled an eight-year personal objective to return to his hometown as chief of police.

Chief Gesell holds an undergraduate degree in Justice Studies with a minor in psychology from Arizona State University as well as a Masterís Degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. He is also a graduate of Northwestern Universityís School of Police Staff and Command in addition to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administrationís Drug Unit Commanders Academy.

Teaching has been a passion throughout his career. He has taught numerous courses at Arizonaís largest police academy, served as an adjunct community college instructor, and most recently served as an adjunct instructor for Northwestern University teaching interpersonal and organizational communication to police managers around the country.

Chief Gesell was raised primarily in San Luis Obispo and graduated from San Luis Obispo High School. Mr. Gesell and his wife Nesa have three children; Lauren, and twins Lindsey and Nathan.


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