Former Porterville Police Department captain John Hall takes over as chief of Exeter PD for a five-year term
By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
EXETER – The City of Exeter is finishing up their final few moves when it comes to organizational changes. Just Tuesday, Jan. 9 the City swore in new police chief John Hall to replace interim chief Jeff McIntosh.
Before handing over the reins McIntosh was sure to give his final remarks to the Council.
“I appreciate the confidence you had in me to do this job,” McIntosh said. “It’s an exciting time and thank you for the opportunity.”
The new chief in charge has never been in the top spot in law enforcement before but Hall felt that this position was a ripe opportunity to prove he is able to take the next step. Exeter’s newest chief was police captain at Porterville PD before making his way north, albeit he still lives in Porterville with his family. He worked his way up the ranks from patrol office, to sergeant, to lieutenant and then captain. In between he worked several different assignments including SWAT, which he says was the most impactful part of his career due in large part to the camaraderie between officers in the unit.
“I look forward to having this opportunity and I won’t let you down,” Hall said to the City Council after being sworn in.
While chief is the natural next step in his career, the position with Exeter is slightly unique. Where managers are normally at-will employees in the organization Hall is serving on a contract that is not to exceed five years. The intent is to ensure that officers in the organization have the time to rise through the ranks, and that is something Hall wants to foster.
“With the five year time frame I would like to help in succession planning. I would like it to be a seamless transition so that whoever jumps in can climb up the ranks,” Hall said.
But there are other aspects of the job he wants to dive into as well. Hall said a focus he wants to continue is the path interim chief McIntosh started, but primarily professionalism in the community. He said an officer’s job is to first and foremost serve and protect the community, but there is more to police work than protection.
“There’s a time where you have to be short and blunt and take control of thing, but there are times where you can be friendly and just have a conversation too,” Hall said.
He went on to mention the importance of the police department’s appearance. Hall said wearing the uniform is an officer’s first impression. Before McIntosh, officers would routinely wear black tactical gear on patrol; now in a push toward professionalism officers typically wear their blue and yellow uniform. Continuing that level of appearance is one of Hall’s tenants as the new chief.
Overall, applying for and taking on this new part of his career required the stars to align just right. The 48-year-old chief is in his 24th year of law enforcement. He’s not too far away from considering retirement and he feels as if he is ready to cap his career at this position. Hall says that fortunately for him he has had some good mentors along the way.
“I think being in law enforcement for 24 years makes me a good fit for this position…I’ve had an opportunity to work with a lot of different supervisors and it was different working for a supervisor to working with a supervisor,” Hall said.
His two most influential superiors have been Porterville police chief Eric Kroutil. Hall, who attended the police academy in Stockton, said that he and Kroutil came out of the academy around the same time. Fittingly they were also hired by Porterville around the same time. What set Kroutil apart as a supervisor was how he worked with officers and explained to them how and why he did things.
Hall went on to say that retired Avenal police chief Jack Amoroso is another mentor. The two actually teach together at the academy at College of the Sequoias. Hall’s main role is evaluating police scenarios.
“It’s a lot of fun…it’s important to bring up those replacements especially with so many of us headed to retirement, it sneaks up on you,” Hall added.