(September 18, 2002) -- LBPD Chief of Police Jerome Lance has announced plans to retire at the end of December 2002.
In a September 17 memo to City Manager Taboada, Chief Lance said:
"I am submitting to you official notice of my retirement, effective December 28, 2002. My last actual day on the job will be Tuesday, September 17, 2002. I am requesting to use the remainder of my vacation and holiday time through December.
It was an honor to serve as the Chief of Police. I appreciate the opportunity to have served the citizens of Long Beach and the men and women of the Police Department."
City Manager Taboada informed the Mayor and Councilmembers of the Chief's retirement by memo later that day, noting that since Lance would be using accrued vacation starting September 18, Mr. Taboada would be appointing an Acting Chief of Police on September 18.
And today, City Manager Taboada appointed Deputy Chief Stephen Bonswor as Acting Chief of Police. "Chief Bonswor will have all rights and authorities vested in that office for the duration of his assignment," said Mr. Taboada in a written release, noting "Chief Bonswor has over 30 years with the Department and was promoted last year to Deputy Chief. His most recent position was serving as the Deputy Chief of the Investigations Bureau."
Mr. Taboada told LBReport.com the process for selecting a permanent replacement hasn't been decided. If it is an internal process, Mr. Taboada could make a selection before his October 4 exit. If it is an external process, the decision would likely be made by Mr. Taboada's successor, Assistant City Manager Gerry Miller or another successor.
Chief Lance started in LBPD in 1964 as a patrol officer, rising through the ranks to the position of Chief of Police on November 20, 1999. City Manager Taboada said in his written release that Chief Lance "has made a major contribution to the public safety of the City of Long Beach during his tenure."
In one of his last high visibility appearances, Chief Lance testified at a September 10 City Council budget session and presented Councilmembers and the public with a city management plan to provide 74 additional officers...the highest level in LBPD history.
As reported at the time by LBReport.com, Chief Lance's presentation transcended fiscal issues to address security needs, neighborhood policing, crime rates, population, demographic and development issues and past and present police levels.
The city management plan presented by Lance included 26 officers for Port and Airport security tasks, officers to handle LBUSD campus duties, replacement officers covering street duties (replacing officers tasked to security duties) plus 10 additional new officers...funded mainly by grants (including a just announced federal grant for 36 officers sought and obtained by city staff action earlier this year) that will significantly reduce costs for LB taxpayers.
Chief Lance and Assistant City Manager Gerry Miller (on behalf of City Manager Taboada) submitted a U.S. DOJ COPS grant application in May, 2002 which succeeded in producing an award of 36 sworn officers plus a waiver reducing LB taxpayers' cost below what such grants normally require. The grant was the second largest awarded to any CA city in the grant cycle.
In a May, 2002 budget workshop, Chief Lance declined to provide specifics on how many officers he'd recommend in the August, 2002 FY 02-03 budget, leaving some Councilmembers dismayed and the public bewildered...although subsequent events now show that city staff was moving below the radar screen to deal with the issue.
During his September, 2002 budget testimony, Chief Lance presented a graph showing the history of LBPD police staffing in the past several years, which indicated major growth spikes resulted from federal grants obtained by City Hall...including a 40 officer grant obtained under City Manager Taboada a few years ago.