City of Lemoore picks 15-year-veteran Michael Kendall to lead city's police department

By Ed Martin, Editor
Lemoore Police Chief Michael Kendall
Lemoore Police Chief Michael Kendall

The City of Lemoore announced Wednesday morning that longtime Lemoore Police Department commander, Michael Kendall, has been selected as the city’s new police chief and will assume the permanent position on Dec. 2 when Chief Darrell Smith officially retires.

Until Smith officially retires, Kendall, 39, will serve as the interim police chief beginning today (Oct. 16). Smith has already left the department, but because of vacation days, his official retirement date is Dec. 2. Smith already has a new job. The popular police chief, who spent most of his career with the Hanford Police Department, assumed the top job with the Tulare-Kings Police Academy, the law enforcement training school located at the College of the Sequoias Hanford campus.

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Smith originally arrived in Lemoore as interim chief, and in 2014 signed a new contract for the permanent job.

Kendall arrived in Lemoore with the United States Navy in 1999 and served until 2003. He and his wife, Sarah, have made Lemoore their permanent home and are raising three boys, all under three years old, two of them twins. 

The new police chief, initially hired by former Lemoore Police Chief Kim Morrell, has been with the Lemoore Police Department for over 15 years. He graduated from the Basic Peace Officer Academy in January 2004 and began his career as a reserve officer for the Lemoore Police Department. Morrell hired the hard-working police officer full time in February 2005.

Kendall has held many positions and assignments within the department. These assignments include, but are not limited to, Explorer advisor, field training officer, Kings County Gang Task Force investigator, assistant team leader for the Central Valley Regional SWAT team, recruit training officer for the COS Academy, range master, rifle instructor, K9 handler, and sergeant.

During his years of service, Kendall earned several commendations for his leadership, dedication, and commitment to the department.

Kendall recognizes the importance of his new job. “I fully understand that Chief Smith has set the bar extremely high,” he told The Leader. “I have some extremely large shoes to fill, and I’m humbled to have been offered the position.”

Lemoore City Manager Nathan Olson appointed the longtime Lemoore commander.

Originally a native of Simi Valley, Kendall left the Central Coast community for a hitch in the United States Navy. He was serving in Lemoore and deployed on the USS Abraham Lincoln when the Iraq War started in 2003. “We were on our way home, and they turned us around,” he remembered.

Kendall served as an aviation jet engine mechanic.

“I returned from deployment, and my wife said I couldn’t reenlist,” said the new police chief. “My neighbor at the time worked for Tulare County, and I had relatives in law enforcement. I wanted to do something similar but on a hometown level, so I decided to go to the police academy. I started as a reserve.”

Did he expect at some point in his career to be appointed chief? “I knew on early on in my career that that was always my ultimate goal. There were reservations because I wanted to start my career here in Lemoore, and I wanted to finish it here in Lemoore.”

Kendall earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and management from Cincinnati’s Union College, which has a satellite campus in Visalia.


City of Lemoore picks 15-year-veteran Michael Kendall to lead city's police department

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