Photo by Paige Lampson

Lt. Brian Kalinowski will take the lead as Galt Police Department’s permanent police chief on Monday, Oct. 11.

Lt. Brian Kalinowski has been chosen as the Galt Police Department’s permanent chief of police. The selection comes six months after Kalinowski temporarily filled the role following the previous chief’s retirement.

“Brian possesses the education, experience and skills to serve successfully as the Police Chief of the Galt Police Department,” City Manager Lorenzo Hines said in a press release announcing the appointment. “He understands our community and shares the City Council’s belief in maintaining a safe community.”

Kalinowski will officially begin as permanent police chief on Oct. 11. He has served as a lieutenant in Galt for eight years and has headed the department’s Operations and Support Services divisions. Before coming to Galt in 2013, he racked up 21 years of experience with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office.

Kalinowski thanked Hines for his “professional guidance” and “trust,” according to the release.

“The Galt Police Department has a proud history and a bright future ahead. This opportunity is not about what I can do as an individual but, rather, what we can do together as an organization to move the department forward while continuing to provide quality police services to the residents of Galt,” Kalinowski said.

After then Chief of Police Ted Sockman retired in November 2020, Hines created a temporary arrangement in which Kalinowski served as interim chief for the next six months and Lt. Richard Small took on the role afterward, from April to early October.

Kalinowski’s temporary turn at the helm coincided with significant developments related to local law enforcement.

In January, a judge considered whether to place Joshua Cooley, a sexually violent predator, in a home just outside Galt city limits, prompting Kalinowski, like other local officials, to write a letter arguing against the placement.

Citing proximity to an elementary school, a lack of services, and opportunities for Cooley to evade authorities, Kalinowski called the potential placement “a recipe for disaster.”

The Humboldt County Superior Court judge ultimately rejected locating Cooley near Galt.

Galt PD also sought and received City Council approval to purchase body-worn and in-vehicle cameras under Kalinowski’s watch.

Body cameras have the potential to reduce officers’ use of force, the number of complaints police receive and the time needed to review those complaints, Kalinowski said at the April 20 council meeting.

Kalinowski framed the initiative as part of a broader effort to improve transparency and accountability in law enforcement, noting that body cameras “can contribute to improving police practices (and) building community trust and legitimacy.”

Besides his law enforcement background, Kalinowski has experience in elected office. During his time in Contra Costa, he served 12 years on the Antioch City Council and made an unsuccessful election bid for Contra Costa County sheriff in 2010.

The time in public office showed Kalinowski the role a police department plays in planning, public works and finance, and helped him understand the concerns residents bring to a city council, he told the Herald in 2013 when he joined Galt PD.

In the announcement of the appointment, Hines anticipated Kalinowski becoming a major part of city leadership.

“I look forward to working with Chief Kalinowski in this new role as a key member of my management team and believe he will provide strong leadership in the police department,” Hines said.