Longtime Police Cmdr. Jim Edwards has been selected by the City Council as Bell's new chief of police.
Edwards, 46, replaces former Chief Manuel Ortega, who left Bell two months ago to become police chief of Placentia.
Edwards, who was 21 when he first became a police officer in Bell, was selected because of his experience with the department and his plans to strengthen the force, said Mayor George Cole. "He's got a long career with the department," Cole said. "He has really developed and has shown tremendous leadership and organizational skills."
Edwards has been with the department since 1965, although he left for one year to become chief of a small police force in Missouri.
He said his first priority as chief is to assess the department's needs. One area that will be closely scrutinized is the use of manpower. There are 41 sworn officers on the Bell force.