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Pooley named new undersheriff

A Central Valley police chief who started his career in Tuolumne County more than 20 years ago will return to serve as undersheriff.

Chief Bill Pooley will say goodbye to the Riverbank Police Department on Friday and take his new position at the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office on Monday.


Pooley will replace Undersheriff Keith Lunney, who is retiring after working in law enforcement for more than three decades. The Sheriff’s Office anticipated Lunney’s retirement several years ago and set out to find a replacement.

“We’ve had a long working relationship with (Pooley) and, as he was promoted, I was able to watch his career excel in Stanislaus County,” Sheriff Jim Mele said. 

Lunney will work with Pooley until his departure on Aug. 18. Mele said the Sheriff’s Office budgeted for the overlap. 

As the undersheriff, Pooley will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Sheriff’s Office. His salary will be $108,700.

Pooley said he is looking forward to meeting new people and being “invigorated” by the job.

“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun up there,” he said. 

The Anchorage, Alaska native attended the Modesto Police Academy in 1989 and was hired by the Sonora Police Department in 1990.

He also spent 11 months working as a reserve deputy for the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office.

In 1994, Pooley left the Mother Lode for the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, where he worked as a patrol deputy, detective, drug enforcement agent, sergeant and lieutenant.

He also served as an interim chief for the Hughson Police Department before becoming the Riverbank police chief in 2008. 

“He was a very effective police chief and we had a very productive working relationship that served the city of Riverbank very well,” Riverbank City Manager Jill Anderson said. “We are sorry to see him go and wish him the very best in his new position.” 

Sgt. Erin Kiely will serve as the interim police chief in Riverbank. The city plans to wait until it fills an open City Council seat in June to select a new chief, Pooley said. 

Pooley said he will miss Riverbank but that relocating to Tuolumne County “felt right.”

He will be sworn in on Tuesday. 

“I can’t wait to get started,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

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