Huntington Beach to have an assistant chief of police

The Huntington Beach Police Department will soon have a new assistant chief.

The City Council on Monday voted 6-1 to amend the municipal code to introduce an assistant chief of police position. Mayor Mike Posey dissented.

The item will return to the council for a second reading at a future meeting.

In 2017, an independent consulting firm recommended creating a second-in-command position to “improve departmental operational efficiency” and establish a “ladder of succession planning.”

Police Chief Robert Handy said the role will be filled internally in hopes of preparing the next chief. He said a jump from captain to chief is “too big to make” and that having the assistant position would prepare a potential chief.

“We haven’t had an internal chief in decades,” Handy said. “My goal is to hand off to someone who [has] grown up in the department.”

Handy said the new position is already accounted for in the budget. He did not specify how much it would pay.

Posey asked Handy if he could wait to fund the position in June, when the council will address the next budget.

Handy said he needs help from a “solid management team to overcome ... divisions” in the department now.

Councilman Billy O’Connell said the new post would benefit a lot of people in the Police Department.

Councilman Erik Peterson said he likes that the position would be filled internally.

Ban on scooter and bicycle sharing services

In other business Monday, the council unanimously cast a final vote to adopt an ordinance banning scooter and bicycle sharing services in Huntington Beach.

The ordinance, which goes into effect in 30 days, makes it illegal for any operator to provide, place or offer shared mobility devices in public rights of way. Bikes or scooters rented in another city also would be barred in Huntington Beach.

A first offense would carry a $100 fine. Second and third violations would be $200 and $500, respectively. The bikes and scooters also would be impounded.

Twitter: @vegapriscella