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Chief Smith honored for pursuing personal training
Chief Smith
Ceres Police Chief Brent Smith (right) was honored last week by Manny Alvarez of the state Commission on Police Officers Standards and Training. The award for pursuing continuing education as a chief. Watching on are Councilmember Linda Ryno and City Attorney Tom Hallinan. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

Manuel "Manny" Alvarez, the executive director of the state Commission on Police Officers Standards and Training (POST), dropped by the Ceres City Council last week to honor Ceres Police Chief Brent Smith.

POST is a state agency, made up of 117 men and women, to set the training and hiring standards for police officers and dispatchers throughout California.

"We think that California, we like to say, has the gold standard for law enforcement training where peace officers get more training - from the time they go through the academy to the time the retire - than anywhere in the country," said Alvarez. "We only require peace officers to receive 24 hours of continuing education training every two years, or 12 hours every year. It's not a lot. The only time that we have a difficult time is when chiefs of police and sheriffs don't have time to go to courses because they're managing their departments. So few chiefs take us up on the offer for an executive certificate. Your chief has done that."

He said the requirements for the executive certificate require a chief to jump through several hoops.

"Your chief has done all of them," Alvarez told the City Council.

Since its inception approximately 60 years ago, POST has issued only 1,200 executive certificates.

"I get to present these once a month on average so it really is an honor to present it to the chief."

Smith completed the courses in 2010 and 2011 before he became the chief in February 2015, but Alvarez said the executive certificate cannot be presented until after a person has served as chief a minimum of two years.

Smith did not know the presentation was coming but noticed his family had snuck in after being tipped off.

Smith joined the Ceres Police Department in 1993. He replaced Art deWerk as chief.

Alvarez was appointed executive director in 2016. Prior to working for POST, he served as a Special Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 1990 to 2016. Following his training at the FBI Academy in 1990, Alvarez was assigned to the FBI's San Francisco Field Office, San Jose Resident Agency until 2006. From 2006 to 2010, he served as the FBI Assistant Legal Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain. From 2010 to 2016 he served as an Assistant Special Agent in Charge in the FBI's Sacramento Field Office.