Belmont police chief is retiring

in Community

Belmont Police Chief Tony Psaila has announced he will retire on July 31 following a 32 year career in law enforcement, according to the City. Launching his career in June 1990 as a reserve officer, and later as a recruit officer that same year, Chief Psaila rose through the ranks to serve as a corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and ultimately, as police chief in 2019.

The City has announced its plans to launch a search for a new police chief, a process expected to take several months, according to officials. As the search gets underway, Lt. Kenneth Stenquist—a 20 year veteran of the Belmont Police Department—will be appointed as acting chief. He has had numerous departmental assignments during his career, including managing the department’s Operations Division for the past two years.

After earning his Bachelor of Science Degree from Union Institute and University and then graduating from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., Chief Psaila embarked on his career in law enforcement, said the City. He took on a number of specialty assignments throughout his time in Belmont, including traffic officer, San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force agent, Special Weapons and Tactics operator, San Mateo County Terrorism Counter Assault team operator, rangemaster, detective, and president of the Belmont Police Officers Association.

The City credited the chief with “progressive thinking” in his role that led to the development and implementation of crucial programs such as body worn cameras, the Community Academy and Crisis Assessment, Response and Education (C.A.R.E.) team and a department Wellness program.

In a statement, City officials said Chief Psaila “led by example making sure that his attitude and actions demonstrated the ethics, values, standards and procedures that define the Belmont Police Department and that he wanted officers to embody.” The City underscored the chief’s “strong passion for recruiting and hiring the right individuals” for the department and that he spent “countless hours” fostering and mentoring those recruits.

“It has been an honor to serve the Belmont community and work with such a talented and dedicated team. The department understands the needs of our community and I am confident they are prepared to continue meeting those needs and any challenge that lies ahead,” said Chief Psaila.

Belmont City Manager Afshin Oskoui said replacing Chief Psaila “will be no small challenge.” He “brought a can-do, team oriented and inspirational work attitude to the City’s leadership team.” Also citing the chief’s tireless work ethic and professionalism, Oskoui added his “leadership has nurtured a highly respected and trained organization.”

Photo of courtesy of the Belmont Police Department