King City Police Chief Robert Masterson (Contributed Photo)

KING CITY — Police Chief Robert Masterson will be leaving after more than three years at the helm of the King City Police Department, the City of King announced this week.

Masterson, who has worked for King City since July 2017, recently accepted the police chief position with the City of Atascadero. His last day will be Jan. 3.

“It has been a joy to have had the honor to work for the City of King,” Masterson said in a news release Dec. 9. “To see the City staff, under Mr. (Steve) Adams’ leadership, the council and community working with such a singular goal of making a safer place to live has been an extremely rare pleasure. I have been amazingly surprised with the positive results that this teamwork has achieved, and it will probably be one of the pinnacles of my working life.”

According to City Manager Steve Adams, Masterson’s record of success has been “extraordinary.”

“He rebuilt King City’s police operation to be a model department, implemented a comprehensive plan that saw annual shootings decrease from 32 in 2017 to only four in the following three years, and led a dedicated effort to rebuild trust and a positive relationship between the police department and community,” Adams said. “We are very grateful for the time he has served here and wish him continued success in the future.”

Masterson will be recognized for his service at the next City of King council meeting, which will be held virtually via Zoom at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 12. The community is invited to participate.

“The City greatly appreciates Chief Masterson’s years of hard work rebuilding our police department, virtually eliminating violent crime within our city,” said Mayor Mike LeBarre. “Our police department is stronger than ever and under his leadership has regained the trust and respect of our community. We will miss chief Masterson and we wish him and his family all the best in this new chapter of his life.”

Adams said the process for selecting Masterson’s permanent replacement will be determined within the next two months. In the meantime, King City Police Capt. Keith Boyd has been appointed as interim police chief effective Jan. 4.

“We are very fortunate to have someone as capable as Capt. Boyd available to step into this role immediately,” Adams said. “He has tremendous law enforcement and leadership skills and experience. I am very confident that he will continue to expand on the progress that has been made.”

King City Police Chief Robert Masterson (right) swears in Capt. Keith Boyd on Sept. 4, 2019. (Ryan Cronk/Staff)

Boyd, who was hired in King City in September 2019, has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from California State University, Sacramento, and a master’s degree in law enforcement and public safety leadership from the University of San Diego. His prior experience includes working as a deputy sheriff with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office; deputy, sergeant and lieutenant with the Marin County Sheriff’s Office; and deputy chief with the Woodburn Police Department in Oregon. 

“As a mentor, Chief Masterson instilled his vision for the future of the police department as a partner to the community and I thank him for bringing me to King City to be a part of that vision,” Boyd said. “It is my honor to serve as the interim chief of police and want to ensure the community that the members of the organization will continue to strive for excellence in their service to them.”

Masterson added, “I am blessed to feel that I am leaving the King City Police Department in good hands with Capt. Keith Boyd. I am confident that he will continue the path of community partnership and internal improvement that has been seen thus far and quite possibly surpass the vision I had. I will miss the community and those I have served with immensely and wish the City of King and its community the best.”

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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