Exeter officer resigns after 21 years of service

(Kenny Goodman)

Lieutenant Brett Inglehart’s pursues new opportunities after years of working in public safety to protect the people of Exeter

EXETER – The Exeter Police Department has bid farewell to trusted officer Brett Inglehart, who served the town for two decades and is now leaving to pursue other things.

The Exeter City Council commended longtime employee Brett Inglehart at their meeting on Feb. 13. The city made time to acknowledge Inglehart’s 21 years of serving as a police officer for Exeter. The Exeter Police Department also celebrated Inglehart by holding a luncheon on Feb. 16 to acknowledge his service.

It was an honor to serve the community,” Inglehart said. “It was a great place to begin a law enforcement career.”

Now that he is leaving the department, Ingleheart it isn’t fully clear what his next steps are other than quality time with family.

“The most exciting thing is not really knowing what the future holds … and getting to spend time with the family and with my daughter before she goes to college,” Inglehart said.

During his time with the police department, Inglehart experienced many different arenas of public safety ranging in everything from investigative work to assisting in responding to a bank robbery back in 2006. Out of all of the things he experienced, Inglehart explained that one of his favorite areas he worked in was the eight years he spent training the canines for the police department.

He continued to explain that he trained two different dogs for the department. The training takes weeks at a time to do right that way the canines can accurately sniff out narcotics.

“It’s probably the most time demanding but it’s the most rewarding because you get out of the dog what you put into them,” Inglehart said.

According to City Manager Adam Ennis, Inglehart was promoted to Lieutenant in 2021, and additionally oversaw department administrative functions and was acting chief of police on multiple occasions. During that time he was also involved in the hiring and development of officers, detectives and sergeants.

Back in 2012, Inglehart was promoted to sergeant. During this time he was put in charge of patrol teams and specialty units as well as serving the police force in various other ways.

In 2004 he was officially hired as a full-time officer and has been with the Exeter Police Department ever since. Inglehart’s beginning started when he graduated from Tulare/Kings County Police Academy in 2003. He began his career in law enforcement 21 years ago when he started as a reserve police officer with the Exeter Police Department.

Even though Inglehart has had 21 rewarding years with the city, he said it hasn’t all been perfect.

“Part of my decision to step down is that we lost so many officers,” Inglehart said. “A majority of them go to Tulare, to Hanford and other agencies. It’s becoming a little overwhelming to try to continue to keep training your new officers and taking on more and more tasks and responsibilities.”

Lieutenant Brett Inglehart
(Kenny Goodman)

From Inglehart’s perspective, the number of officers that leave the city is hurting Exeter because none of the officers stay long enough to become experienced before they leave for better pay.

“I don’t feel like the city of Exeter, city council and city administrator truly recognize the problem,” Inglehart said. “They can’t even afford to buy houses on officer’s salaries anymore, so they’re going elsewhere to take care of their families.”

According to Ennis, the salaries offered in Exeter are decided based on what is competitive to the other towns close to Exeter’s size and population.

“There have been officers that have gone to the City of Tulare, and Tulare wouldn’t typically wouldn’t be a comparable city,” Ennis said. “Talking about the retention, it’s really an industry-wide situation going on. I know the cities of Visalia and Tulare have talked about losing their officers to Fresno.”

Ennis went on to explain the city is in negotiations with the officers right now. He said the last time the city was in negotiations with the officers was in 2021, when the city and the officers agreed on the salaries based off of the comparable towns in the area for the next three years.

Regardless of the issues he has with officer’s pay, Inglehart said he really values the time he spent working as an officer for Exeter.

“Overall my time and experience with the city of Exeter has been very positive,” Inglehart said.

Exeter city staff recognized what an impact Inglehart has made in public safety during the council meeting. He received a resolution of commendation from the city council and a plaque from the police department recognizing his 21 years of service.

“He’s definitely been quite the asset for the city all these years,” Ennis said.

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