By Mary O’KEEFE
The new Glendale police chief has wanted to be part of his hometown police force since he went on a ride-a-long with Glendale police while he was attending college.
Ronald DePompa was officially installed as Glendale Chief of Police last week. He had been working as interim chief since former police chief Randy Adams retired last summer.
“I guess I wanted to be in law enforcement forever. I always knew I wanted to [serve] from start to finish in Glendale,” DePompa said.
The new chief grew up in Crescenta Valley, attending Dunsmore Elementary School, Clark Middle School and graduating from CV High School. He went on to Glendale Community College and it was there that he had an opportunity to go on a ride along with Glendale police.
“That ride along sealed the deal,” he said. He went on to University of San Francisco where he received a bachelor of science degree and a master’s degree from the University of Southern California. He also completed the California Law Enforcement Command College and the FBI National Academy.
Throughout his career he has helped establish several programs including community policing. “I think we need to build a relationship with the community as much as possible. More than ever we are depending on that [community] partnership to fight crime,” DePompa said.
He added that working closely with other law enforcement agencies in the area like Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s and Los Angeles Police is also an important component.
DePompa said there are three basic themes that drive policing: geographic accountability, timely information and enabling technology. The geographic accountability goes with the new area divisions established in Glendale. A commander is responsible for each area. Lt. Ian Grimes is the officer assigned to the Crescenta Valley area of Glendale.
He said the division is a way to get officers into the community and helps them be more responsive to the needs of the residents. The department had always worked with community policing but this new approach will make response more direct.
“The difference is we do this at the command level. They can marshal the resources and create partnerships. We believe in the community officer approach but this [allows it to be] more effective,” he said.
The surveillance equipment installed throughout the city is a way that technology can help officers, DePompa added. Cameras can be moved to areas where crimes regularly occur. Presently the only cameras in the local area are watching for mudflow at Deukmejian Park.
Getting out into the community is something that DePompa is happily anticipating. “I look forward to personally meeting residents and local groups,” he said. “It’s going to be very exciting; I look forward to making a difference.”