Robert (Bob) Lehner has been a police officer for over 37 years and a police chief for over ten years. Bob started his policing career with the Tucson, Arizona police department serving a balanced career in field services, investigations, and administration and holding every sworn rank except that of Chief of Police. When he left the agency in 2003, Bob was the senior assistant chief and second-in-command of this large, CALEA-accredited agency.
Bob was then appointed chief of the police department in Eugene, the second largest city in Oregon. At the time of his appointment, Eugene PD had suffered several criminal personnel-related crises, was in management-labor turmoil, and had been without a permanent chief for over two years. Bob led a professional assessment of the agency, developed a comprehensive strategic plan to address identified issues, and by the time he left after nearly five years, almost all of the administrative and policy reforms had been successfully implemented, avoiding what would likely have been a Department of Justice pattern-and-practice finding and consent decree.
Bob then accepted a position as the second-ever chief of a start-up police agency in Elk Grove, California, then and now the largest from scratch police start-up in the U.S. The city incorporated in 2000 and formed its police department in 2006. Bob assumed the chief’s role in 2008 and led the development of agency systems, structures, and policies to transition the agency and its culture to become a respected, modern police agency.
A first-generation American, Bob was born to immigrant parents in South Carolina and lived in Japan and Chicago before moving to Tucson in the late 1960s. He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Business Administration from the University of Arizona in Tucson and has completed PERF’s Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP), the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy (FBINA), the University of Virginia’s Senior Executive Institute (SEI), and many other professional programs.
Bob is a recognized police systems and policy expert. Previously a board member of the Oregon Police Chiefs Association, Bob is presently a board member of the California Police Chiefs Association and regularly testifies to the effects of various legislative proposals on cities and public safety generally.
Bob is a Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) Master Certified Barbecue Judge (MCBJ) and has judged professional barbecue competitions throughout the western U.S. Bob is also a certificated private pilot. Bob and his wife Diane have been married for over 30 years and have two adult daughters, both in the health care industry.