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Seal Beach : New Police Chief Should Know Ropes--He's Served in Every Job, Rank

November 10, 1987

Capt. Bill Stearns, who has worked for the Seal Beach Police Department since he was 21, will become its chief today.

The 43-year-old Stearns has been acting chief since June 4, when his predecessor, Chief Stacia Picascia, took a three-month medical leave as a result of stress-related high blood pressure. Picascia, an attorney, has expressed interest in a judgeship.

The two men shared a celebratory lunch Monday that was thrown by city employees at a local restaurant.

Stearns began his career in Seal Beach in August, 1965, and has served in every rank and job, according to City Manager Robert Nelson. Before he became acting chief, Stearns was commander of the 42-officer department's operations division. Stearns earned an associate of arts degree from Saddleback College and a bachelor of arts degree in management from Redlands University.

An avid water skier and equestrian, Stearns has won medals for those events and has sailed in the Police Olympics. "I've been involved since 1967. I surfed in them (the games) then," Stearns said.

Stearns, who lives in Rossmoor, said his goals include staff increases and perhaps sharing employees and equipment with Los Alamitos, a neighboring small town.

"I know (Seal Beach) and the community quite well, so that's a big help to me," Stearns said. "I want the department to be very community relations-oriented."

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