Then Stehr addressed the crowd — Burbank Police officers flanking him to the right and left — offering thanks to his friends, family and colleagues and expressing cautious optimism about his new post.
"I am certainly not inheriting a police department full of problems …. with that said, there are some challenges," he said.
Recruiting new police officers, keeping pace with rapidly improving technology to fight crime and nurturing a new generation of leadership within the department are among Stehr's goals as chief, he said.
"Standing around me are the chiefs of the future," he said.
Rising to the head of the Police Department is a huge achievement in a city like Burbank, where residents place great importance on public safety, City Manager Mary Alvord said.
And Stehr's appointment came after a thorough selection process, including interviews with a civilian panel and panels of city executives and business professionals, she said.
"Tim received a No. 1 ranking from the members of all three boards," she said.
Stehr's tenure in Burbank — which spans 28 years from when he joined the department as a cadet at the age of 19 — was punctuated in 2003, when he helped lead a multi-agency manhunt that led to the arrest of David Garcia, who is accused of murdering Burbank Police Officer Matthew Pavelka.
Stehr cited that tragedy as the scene etched most clearly in his mind during his career.
"That incident has changed this department forever, and everyone who is hired is reminded of what a dangerous job this has become," he said.
The event also paid tribute to outgoing chief Tom Hoefel, who spoke to the crowd before the changing of the guard.
"It has been such an honor to call myself your police chief, but today is Tim's day, and I'm leaving you in very good hands," he said.
Hoefel left the podium to a salute from his fellow officers, released an emotive sigh and said, "Tim, my friend, take over," he said.
"It's all yours — congratulations chief."
CHRIS WIEBE covers City Hall and the courts. He may be reached at (818) 637-3242 or by e-mail at chris.wiebelatimes.com.