Two police officers are seated at a desk in a council chamber, addressing a public meeting. The officer speaking is wearing glasses and gesturing with his hands, with a microphone in front of him, while his colleague looks on. They are in uniform with badges visible.
Interim Vallejo Police Chief Jason Ta speaks during a May 16, 2023 meeting of the Vallejo City Council as then-Capt. Robert Knight looks on. Ta promoted Knight to deputy chief earlier this year. Credit: Geoffrey King / Open Vallejo

Vallejo Fire Chief Kyle Long is no longer in command of the department, effective immediately, sources with knowledge of the matter told Open Vallejo. In his absence, Interim Police Chief Jason Ta will lead both the fire and police departments. 

One source said late Thursday afternoon that Ta’s appointment came as a surprise, adding that fire personnel only learned they would get a new boss “within the last hour.”

Vallejo City Manager Michael Malone declined to comment on the decision Thursday. Neither Long nor Ta immediately responded to requests for comment. The sources who spoke on condition of anonymity did so because they were not authorized to discuss internal personnel matters.

Emergency responders at a waterfront scene during dusk. Police officers and firefighters are scattered across a rocky shoreline with a large vessel visible in the background. Foreground shows rough terrain and some debris, suggesting a recent incident. The sky is orange-hued, indicating either a sunset, and hills are faintly visible in the distance through a light mist.
Vallejo police and fire personnel respond to a historic boat that became engulfed on Sept. 16, 2023 in Vallejo, Calif. Credit: Geoffrey King / Open Vallejo

Ta joined the Vallejo Police Department in October 2021 to fill a newly created deputy chief position at the agency. In March of 2022, he allegedly arrived at the scene of a homicide reeking of alcohol, according to an internal memo obtained by Open Vallejo. 

Ta’s appointment comes during a kinetic time for Vallejo’s public safety leadership. In February, Open Vallejo reported that Ta planned to resign to become the police chief of Salinas, Calif., but the offer fell through soon after it became public. Last week, Vallejo Deputy Chief Joseph Gomez resigned effective immediately. Veteran police officer and newly-minted captain Robert Knight was appointed to an open deputy chief role earlier this year.

In addition to the police and fire departments, the city itself will soon be run by a temporary appointee. The Vallejo City Council confirmed Beverli Marshall as Interim City Manager Tuesday. She will replace Malone, who announced in October that he will retire as of this month.

Geoffrey King is the executive editor of Open Vallejo. Prior to founding Open Vallejo, Geoffrey worked as an attorney and journalist focused on free expression, open government, press freedom and privacy. He is a proud native of Vallejo, California.