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Meet Our Leaders

Jeff Kermode, President and CEO

California State Bar No. 118955

ERMA approved investigator

Spending most of his life in law enforcement, Jeff Kermode has 38 years of experience in the industry, including 26 years with the Irvine Police Department. It was there that he reached the rank of Commander. He was then hired to create the Tehachapi Police Department, where he served for seven and a half years as Chief of Police. He also served for two years as the Chief of the Bear Valley Police Department. Most recently, he served as the interim General Manager for the Bear Valley Community Service District.

Jeff is currently the President of the Board of Trustees for the Tehachapi Unified School District, where he has served as a board member since 2015. He also serves as the president and CEO of the JJK Group, Inc.

Previously, Jeff served as a long-term SWAT member in the capacity of officer, sergeant, and commander. Furthermore, he has experience in all aspects of the industry, including:

  • Patrol
  • Traffic
  • Special Operations
  • Planning and Research
  • Training
  • Communications
  • Support Services
  • Personnel

Jeff completed a six-month management fellowship in the State Capitol in 1993, working on statewide training issues for the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST). This experience resulted in the creation of a student workbook program, which is used in all California POST academies.

Educational Attainment

  • Bachelor’s Degree From UC Irvine
  • J.D. From Western State University
  • Graduate of FBI National Academy, Quantico, Virginia
  • Graduate of Southwest Command College

Practitioner of Law

As an attorney, Jeff has been a member of the California State Bar since 1985. He served as a criminal law and criminal procedure instructor at Golden West College from 1985 to 2006 and was an adjunct professor at Kaplan University for similar courses.

Volunteer Mounted Patrol

Jeff enjoys horseback riding, having served as a mounted volunteer for:

  • Cleveland National Forest
  • Orange County Regional Parks
  • Tehachapi PD Mounted Posse
  • Kern County Park Ranger Mounted Patrol

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2011 Administrator of the Year Award From the Kern County Law Enforcement Foundation
  • 2011 Richard A. Maxwell Public Safety Award From the Kern Council of Governments
  • Chairman, Kern County Street Interdiction Team (2012-2014)
  • Board Member, Kern Narcotics Enforcement Team (2012-2014)
  • President, Kern County Chief Law Enforcement Officers Association (2011)
  • Board Member and Vice-Chair: Calif. Peace Officers Assn. Region I (CPOA) (2004)
  • FBI National Academy, Session 183
  • Southwest Command College, FBI, California POST, Arizona POST and Nevada POST (2001)
  • POST Certificates (Executive, Management, Supervisory, Advanced, Intermediate, Basic)
  • POST DVD Subject Matter Expert, “Officer in Charge” (2016)
  • POST Legal Update Satellite Teleconference (Presenter) (1993)
  • Management Fellow, California Commission on POST (1993)
  • POST Supervisory Leadership Institute (1991)
  • Admitted to Practice Law, California State Bar (1985) and US District Court (1995)
  • Community College Instructor Credential (1986)

Professional Affiliations

  • California Police Chiefs Association
  • International Association of Chiefs of Police
  • FBI National Academy Associates
  • California Peace Officers Association
  • California State Bar
  • California School Board Association
  • POST Perishable Skills Committee (2000)
  • POST Use of Force Advisory Committee (1993)
  • POST Curriculum Advisory Committees (Past):
  • Use of Force
  • Laws of Arrest
  • Criminal Law
  • Specialized Investigator’s Academy
  • Interactive Video Courses
  • Field Training Officer Course

Deborah Geary, Animal Services Consultant

Debi has enjoyed a 33-year career with the City of Irvine as the animal services supervisor for the 66-square mile city with a population of 250,000. She has extensive experience with:

  • Field and Shelter Operations
  • Licensing Operations
  • Criminal Abuse and Neglect Investigations
  • Equine Care and Handling
  • Wildlife Concerns
  • Emergency Response (Including Large Animal Evacuations and Sheltering)

Furthermore, Debi has administrative experience in:

  • Policy Research and Development
  • Employee Relations and Development
  • Volunteer Coordination
  • Public Relations
  • Staff Recruitment and Training
  • Development of Operational Procedures
  • Dispute Resolution

Filling a Leadership Role

For the last four years, Debi has served as an appointed commissioner on the Kern County Animal Services Commission. In this role, she receives public input on animal-related issues and provides policy recommendations and oversight for the Kern County Animal Services Department.

She also serves as the county’s primary administrative hearing officer for dangerous dog determinations and animal seizures. Debi is currently developing recommendations for a countywide large animal emergency evacuation and sheltering plan.

Responding to the Call of Duty

Debi has significant experience in critical incident animal management. She is CERT trained and has helped develop and implement the large animal evacuation plan for Trabuco Canyon in Orange County. Serving as a point person, she took charge of the successful evacuation of 200 horses during the Silverado Fire.

From local disasters (Laguna Beach Wildfires) to national incidents (Hurricane Katrina), Debi has responded to the call to action and been actively involved in different operations. Following Hurricane Katrina, she spent a week in Louisiana rescuing animals and providing emergency shelter care. She also responded to the Joplin Tornado and a confidential sheltering operation in St. Louis following a multi-state dog fighting investigation.

Miscellaneous Activities

When not fulfilling her duties for the JJK Group, Inc., Debi enjoys horseback riding, having served as a mounted volunteer for the:

  • Cleveland National Forest
  • Orange County Regional Parks
  • The Tehachapi PD Mounted Posse
  • Kern County Park Ranger Mounted Patrol
She is also committed to raising service dog puppies for Canine Companions for Independence. Debi is currently raising her fourth puppy for the organization. Meanwhile, she is certifying another dog through Pet Partners to provide court support to children.

Awards and Recognitions

  • Irvine Police Department Award for 30 Years of Dedicated Community Service
  • Irvine Police Department Unit Commendation for Outstanding Service by Animal Services Unit
  • Supervisory Series Certificate, Irvine Valley College
  • Police Science Award, Saddleback College
  • Honor Recruit, Saddleback College Reserve Police Officer Academy
  • Chemical Immobilization Certificate (1987)
  • Certified Animal Health Technician (1978)
  • 2016 – Equine Sensory Training
  • 2016 – Completion of Brown Act Training
  • 2011 – Animal First Aid for Disaster Responders, Humane Society of the United States
  • 2011 – LART (Large Animal Response Team) Level 4 Training, San Juan Capistrano CERT
  • 2010 – Large Animal Rescue Course, San Mateo Sheriff’s Mounted Search and Rescue
  • 2010 – Animal Disease Response Training, California Department of Food and Agriculture
  • 2005 – Disaster Animal Response Team Training, Humane Society of the United States
  • 2004 – Large Animal Rescue- Operational
  • 1996 – National Horse Abuse Investigators Academy, American Humane Association, Durango, Colorado
  • 1993 – Associate of Arts, Criminal Justice, Saddleback College, Mission Viejo
  • 1989 – Dale Carnegie Management Course
  • 1988 – Advanced Humane Officers Training Academy, State Humane Association, San Diego
  • 1985 – Basic Humane Officers Training Academy, State Humane Association, San Diego
  • 1982 – Dale Carnegie Effective Human Relations Course
  • 1981 – California Peace Officers Standards and Training Level I Reserve Officer Academy

Debi has also received several hundred hours of specialized training relating to:

  • Animal Services Field Operations
  • Supervisory Skills
  • NIMS and SEMS
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Employee Relations
  • Management Techniques
  • Equine Care and Handling


  • Current Administrative Hearing Officer – Kern County Animal Services
  • Current Team Handler – Pet Partners Therapy Animals (Most Complex Environment Level)
  • Current Puppy Raiser and Trainer, Canine Companions for Independence
  • Current Member, Mounted Patrol, Kern County Park Rangers
  • Current Commissioner, Kern County Animal Control Commission
  • Current Board Member and Kern County Chapter Leader for Central California Animal Disaster Team (CCADT)
  • Current Director of LARIAT Team – Large Animal Response Incident Action Team
  • Past Member, Tehachapi Mountain Rodeo Association
  • Past Tough Enough to Wear Pink, Coordinator of Fundraising Campaign, City of Tehachapi
  • Large Animal Response Team Plan and Implementation Team, Bear Valley Disaster Council and Bear Valley Springs
  • CERT (2010-Completion)
  • Past Board Member, Main Street Tehachapi (A National Organization With the Goal of Stimulating
  • Downtown Economic Development)
  • Past Board Member, Healing Horses, and Armed Forces (A Nonprofit Organization Strictly for Veterans With PTSD)
  • Tornado Joplin Missouri Animal Rescue Volunteer, Humane Society of the United States (2011)
  • Past Board Member, Bear Valley Springs CSD Disaster Advisory Council
  • Graduate of Canyon Emergency Preparedness Academy, Orange County Fire Authority (2006)
  • Equine Evacuation Planning and Implementation Team, Orange County Fire Authority (2005-2006)
  • Hurricane Katrina and Rita Animal Rescue Volunteer, Humane Society of the United States (2005)
  • Past Board Member, Equestrian Trails, Inc., Corral 357, Trabuco Canyon, California, (A Nonprofit Organization Committed to Preserving and Protecting Multi-Use Trails in Orange County)
  • Past Leader, Mounted Assistance Unit, Trabuco Canyon, California – Providing Volunteer Mounted Patrols and
  • Assistance to Orange County Regional Parks
  • U.S. Forest Service Volunteer, Cleveland National Forest, Trabuco District, Corona, California – Providing Volunteer
  • Mounted Patrols and Assistance Within the Cleveland National Forest
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