California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 6

BUCKING THE TREND New police departments are having success in fight against crime despite challenges in the economy Gerald Galvin, 69, has been police chief of cities ranging in population from 5,000 to 500,000 during his 40-plus years in law enforcement, including stints as top cop in Toledo, Ohio and Albuquerque, N.M. municipal-run police departments. So what’s the seasoned law enforcement veteran doing making a relatively paltry $58,000 a year as police chief of the small, agriculture-dominated town of Mendota in Fresno County? Mendota, located about 30 miles west of Fresno, consistently ranks among the bottom 10 cities in the state in economic categories, with unemployment as high as 40 percent in the winter and a medium average household “For what we’re getting done,” Galvin says, “it’s working very well.” Doing a lot with very little, it turns out. In these challenging economic times, some cities are considering disbanding their police departments to save money by contracting services with sheriff ’s departments. Galvin, however, is representative of the opposite trend: cities canceling their contracts with sheriff ’s departments to get a tighter handle on crime by running their own police departments. The challenge, of course, boils down to funding. So far, says Galvin, the plan is working in Mendota, which after nearly two decades of contracting police services with the Fresno County Sheriff ’s Department started, in September 2009, its own police department. At least three other California cities recently have done the same thing: Avenal, in King’s County; Orange Cove, in Fresno County; and McFarland, in Kern County. Galvin and his counterpart in Avenal – Police Chief Jack Amoroso — say things are going well with their fledgling,  | Behind The Badge Mendota Chief Gerald Galvin