Chief Stephen Gesell completed a distinguished
20-year career with the Scottsdale (AZ) Police
Department rising to the rank of division commander
responsible for 100 sworn and civilian employees.
He has a diverse professional background in
policing that includes positions such as patrol
officer, bicycle patrol officer, undercover
narcotics detective, U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration task force agent, internal affairs
investigator, basic training sergeant, and detective
sergeant. His mid and upper management positions
include service as a patrol watch commander,
oversight of a section comprised of specialty
patrol-based units, command over a multi-agency
section comprised of covert units that primarily
focused on drug enforcement and organized crime
investigations leveraging key partnerships with the
DEA, FBI and IRS, SWAT team commander, and finally
division commander with oversight over all specialty
patrol-based units as well as Detention.
late 2009, Chief Gesell was selected as a commander
for the Atascadero Police Department following a
national recruitment. He was responsible for guiding
staff members through the strategic planning
process, ultimately resulting in the construction of
a comprehensive 5-year strategic plan. Additionally,
Chief Gesell served as the interim Atascadero Police
Chief throughout the majority of 2011.
Chief Gesell was selected as San Luis Obispoís Chief
of Police in January of 2012 following a national
recruitment. His appointment fulfilled an eight-year
personal objective to return to his hometown as
chief of police.
Chief Gesell holds an undergraduate degree in
Justice Studies with a minor in psychology from
Arizona State University as well as a Masterís
Degree in Educational Leadership from Northern
Arizona University. He is also a graduate of
Northwestern Universityís School of Police Staff and
Command in addition to the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administrationís Drug Unit Commanders Academy.
Teaching has been a passion throughout his career.
He has taught numerous courses at Arizonaís largest
police academy, served as an adjunct community
college instructor, and most recently served as an
adjunct instructor for Northwestern University
teaching interpersonal and organizational
communication to police managers around the country.
Chief Gesell was raised primarily in San Luis Obispo
and graduated from San Luis Obispo High School. Mr.
Gesell and his wife Nesa have three children;
Lauren, and twins Lindsey and Nathan.