California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 16

“ Being a leader... is about building a culture where others can be successful and make a difference. ” As a lieutenant I was given the opportunity to put my ideas to the test and worked with many other departments around the country that were trying the same thing. As a captain in charge of field operations I was able develop the best talent with the latest strategies. When I became chief in 1988, I included problem solving as a key component of my philosophy. I wrote the policing philosophy down, and it was published in the FBI Journal. I used it as the road map to guide our leaders and supervisors. From the day it was published, it seemed to bring new life to our department. Couple the philosophy with believing in your employees and providing them the best training and equipment and it makes a tremendous difference. CPCA: How big a role has three strikes, gang injunctions and other changes in law played in Santa Ana’s success? Walters: It wasn’t so much the law, but instead how could you maximize resources through grants and partnerships? Staying abreast of state law and using partnerships with other county, state and federal agencies was a key part of the COP philosophy. It didn’t matter if it was gang injunctions, federal wiretaps or federal task forces. I try to stay current and abreast of the latest strategies to help keep our community safe. If it is effective, I want to know about it - and how we can use it. CPCA: How is Santa Ana PD different today than it was in the late 1970s, early 1980s? Walters: We are a totally different department. The advent of the technology and crime analysis has changed what we do and how we do it. Today we use all types of technology and have a proud tradition of community-based leadership that is known around the country. Our reputation provides the opportunity to select outstanding talent to join the 16 | Behind The Badge department. The quality of employees can either help to make you the best or be a drain on your limited resources. In the beginning of community policing we had more than two personnel per thousand residents. Currently, we only have less than half the ratio - .9 police officers per thousand. You received an anonymous $1million donation five years ago to be used to reward those who help solve gang homicides. How did you secure the donation - and how have you put it to work? We have been doing a lot of public relations work and getting stories about how we needed community help solving homicide s when a business man approached us and asked if we would keep him anonymous and see what kind of success we would have with offering rewards. He said he was interested in doing this for some time and had approached another department and they turned him down. So we asked if he would deposit the money and we would set publicity about it and keep him periodically notified of how we were doing. He said when we ran out of money he would supply us more funds. As first, many of the staff were skeptical but it has really helped us to solve some cases. We pay based on the amount of information that is given to us. Whenever possible, we keep the persons out of the press and out of the case. It has been an interesting study of human behavior and the success of reward programs.