STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
COTTONWOOD SHORES — City officials have hired a new police chief with administrative experience who worked as a reserve office for several months before rising to the top of the selection list.
Johnny Liendo started his first day as chief July 11, five days after Cottonwood Shores city staff made the recommendation, which the council approved.
Liendo has nearly 40 years of law enforcement experience, including a 15-year stint with the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office.
The Georgetown resident has been retired for the past five years and worked for Cottonwood Shores police as a reserve for more than six months before getting the promotion.
His background includes a peace officer position with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, police chief for Granger Independent School District, and, prior to retirement, truancy officer/educator for Manor ISD.
Liendo is also a certified canine handler.
“He has some administrative experience. Working with kids, juveniles — that’s a positive in my mind,” Mayor Donald Orr said. “We believe those are characteristics that are desirable as far as bringing in a chief that will do a good job.”
The chief’s starting salary is $53,000 per year plus benefits with a pending 90-day review.
Orr said another positive aspect regarding Liendo is his ability to command respect among his peers.
The city’s past chief, Greg Palmer, stepped down after two months, citing lack of supervisory capacity, but he expressed a desire to continue working for the department.
“Our past chief Greg Palmer has agreed to stay on as lieutenant,” Orr said. “He had never been in a supervisory position, so he chose to step down, and we put Johnny in that position, which is a positive.
“The fact that Greg has decided to stay on and work for him says a lot in my mind,” the mayor added.
Cottonwood Shores police has a staff of four officers, including the chief.