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'A community icon.' Former Redding police chief dies at 72

Retired Chief of Police, Robert (Bob) Blankenship has passed away, Chief Bill Schueller announced via Facebook on Friday.

Posted: Oct 23, 2020 3:20 PM
Updated: Oct 24, 2020 8:59 AM

REDDING, Calif. – Redding's retired Chief of Police, Robert (Bob) Blankenship has passed away at the age of 72. Blankenship would have turned 73 in December.

“It is with a heavy heart that we mourn the passing of a community icon, Retired Chief of Police Robert (Bob) Blankenship,” shared Redding Police Chief, Bill Schueller.

Blankenship started his career at the Redding Police Department in 1972. He worked his way up and became the chief in 1988. Blankenship retired in 2002.

He was known for developing statewide policies for law enforcement response to domestic violence incidents. He also served on the State of California Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission and served as President of the California Police Chiefs Association.

“Chief Blankenship hired me in 1994 after RPD received our first Community Oriented Policing Grant,” shared Schueller. “That grant provided the funding to develop our first ever Neighborhood Policing Unit. He has been a mentor to me throughout my career and I spoke with him often. He was always willing to be a sounding board and never hesitated to shed some words of wisdom. He will be missed.”

Blankenship was also a member of The McConnell Foundation Board of Directors. He joined in 2002 and remained an active board member until his passing, according to Chief Operating Officer, Shannon Phillips.

"He had a keen perspective on human nature and was a curious, sensitive and thoughtful man," shared Phillips in a statement. "Bob’s career was highlighted by serving as Redding’s Chief of Police. His career in law enforcement gave him great insight into challenges communities face. As a board member, he was especially supportive of projects and programs that are accountable and realistic, and he had a big heart for empowering youth to reach their potential."

“Chief Blankenship was a good man and an admirable public servant to the City of Redding. He had a big heart and cared deeply for our community. We mourn his passing and send our condolences to his family,” said Mayor Adam McElvain.

The Redding Police Department staff will be wearing memorial bands on their badges. According to the department, memorial services are pending. 

Blankenship is survived by his wife, daughters, sister and grandchildren.

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