Escondido’s police chief hired to lead Menifee Police Department – San Bernardino Sun

A new chief was named Monday, June 13, to take command of the Menifee Police Department and will start his duties the first week of July.

Escondido police Chief Edward Varso III was hired by City Manager Armando Villa following a months-long search that began after founding Menifee police Chief Pat Walsh announced in February that he was retiring.

“As a resident of Menifee, I have watched the formation and growth of the Menifee Police Department and am humbled to become a part of the agency’s next chapter,” Varso said. “I look forward to working with the department’s personnel, city leadership and community members to maintain a safe and collaborative environment for law enforcement success.”

Varso has been Escondido’s top lawman since October 2019. He began his law enforcement career with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 1997, but transferred to the city of Escondido in 2001. He worked as a K-9 officer, supervised the traffic division and filled slots as an investigator, as well as a public information officer, before laddering into the upper echelon of the police department.

“The Menifee Police Department continues to be a model law enforcement agency, thanks in large part to the work of Chief Walsh and the men and women of our newly formed agency,” Villa said. “(Incoming) Chief Varso’s reputation and proven law enforcement experience will ensure the mayor and city council’s commitment to maintain a safe and premier community remains our top priority.”

Walsh, who has spent nearly four decades in law enforcement, was the municipality’s first police chief, taking over in early July 2020, when Menifee officially ended its law enforcement contract with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and initiated autonomous public safety operations.

The department, which now boasts 95 personnel, is continuing to expand, adding more staff to crime scene investigation, traffic patrol and the K9 division, according to officials.

Varso is slated to be formally sworn in by the mayor on June 30 and will officially start his new job on July 5.

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