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Retired Police Captain Named Interim Merced Police Chief



Retired Modesto Police Capt. Craig Gundlach will assume interim command of Merced PD on Monday, March 6, 2023. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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Craig Gundlach will become interim chief of the Merced Police Department on Monday, March 6, 2023, city manager Stephanie Dietz announced earlier this week.

Gundlach, a retired Modesto police captain, will lead the department while the city conducts a nationwide search for its retired police chief, Thomas Cavallero.

“Chief Gundlach has a solid background in police operations, and I look forward to his leadership,” said Dietz in a news release.

In August 2022, Cavallero announced plans to retire after a 37-year career in law enforcement. Cavallero began his retirement in December 2022.

Gundlach brings 28 years of law enforcement experience to the position. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, and has a bachelor’s degree in Occupational Studies from CSU Long Beach.

“I place a high value on public safety and service to the community,” Gundlach said. “I am committed to providing the department with continuity and look forward to working with the men and women of the Merced Police Department through the transition to a permanent chief.”

The city has retained Bob Murray & Associates to conduct a national search for a permanent police chief. The interim assignment is expected to last about six months.

Public Survey Part of Search for  Next Chief

Merced leaders invite residents to participate in an online survey about the qualities, values, and experiences they would like to see in the next police chief.

“We are committed to transparent and equitable public engagement during the search,” Dietz said. “Input from our community, officers, elected officials, and labor groups will be critical to the selection process.”

To participate in the outreach, visit


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