By Mary O’KEEFE
After serving 30 years as a Glendale police officer, Sgt. Tom Lorenz has decided not to retire but to move to another area of the city as Glendale’s spokesman.
Eleven years ago, Lorenz took the helm as the GPD public information officer. His duties were to deal with the media on everything and anything that had to do with the police department. From new hires to police pursuits, he was the go-to person. Then in 2010, he stepped into a dual role as adjutant to the chief of police in addition to the PIO. He spoke on city issues as well as police issues.
Four years later, he had to make a decision – either to retire from the police force and go work for another agency outside of the city or accept a promotion from Glendale and work as its director of Communications and Community Relations.
He accepted the promotion this month.
This trend of retiring, then working, happens in several agencies including school districts where superintendents or other administrators retire from their jobs only to be hired for their expertise in other cities.
Although Lorenz was also given those offers, he chose to stay in Glendale.
“For the past 30 years, this city has given everything to my family and [me],” he said. “So when they offered me this position, [I accepted].”
Glendale, like many cities, has been trying to do more with less. Its goal is to become more efficient while still covering critical issues. When Lorenz chose not to retire but to instead accept the promotion, the city saved money.
“It was a significant savings for the city,” he said.
Although he was not looking for this offer, he was glad to take it and to continue with what he began while in his dual information officer roles.
“Every city office does good work but may not communicate well with other departments,” Lorenz said.
He has been coordinating with the city offices in how information is presented, so everyone is on the same page. He works closely with all departments and uses social media to the city’s advantage.
Most cities react to stories; Lorenz wants to be proactive and get the word out before rumors or misinformation are fed into social media.
“Inherently people want to be the [first ones] to get information and by the touch of a button on your phone you are able to get it,” he said.
The issue is that often in the rush to be the first to put it online, information is not accurate, he said. And when someone reads something once, they generally will not follow up with the story so the incorrect information becomes the reality.
“We need to push information out … so we become the source,” he said.
To further address this, the city has designed a new website with a section titled “Facts versus Rumors.” This is “Eliminating Misperceptions” according to the site.
Organizations and news media will, on occasion, put incorrect or incomplete information out concerning the city of Glendale. This page is the city’s way to have a voice in what is being written about it, Lorenz said.
In his new role, Lorenz wants to reach out to local organizations and talk to them about how they can work with the city and together use social media to expand their reach. He recently spoke at the Montrose Shopping Park Assn. on that subject.
The public information officer for the GPD is now Tahnee Lightfoot, a former GPD officer who had left the area and recently returned. She is a civilian PIO for the GPD.
For information on the city of Glendale and to visit the rumor page, visit