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Our History - The 1990's And Beyond

Advanced weapons, mobile computers and a training program exceeding the state's requirements shape the new department.

The 1990's

narcoinvestChief Byron Nelson led the department between 1990-1995. In 1990, Chief Nelson was promoted from captain to Chief of Police. Nelson changed the department's duty weapon from a revolver to its current issue weapon, the Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun. He started the department's bicycle program, the Gang Detective position, D.A.R.E. baseball cards, and instituted an on going monthly training for police officers. Chief Nelson obtained project approval for the new police facility. He replaced the police car shotguns with Heckler and Koch MP-5 .40 caliber rifles. These rifles give the patrol officers parity with weaponry of the criminal element that continues to increase its fire power while committing crimes.
In 1995, John Broderick became Chief of Police. His emphasis on technology had brought significant progress in crime fighting and crime prevention in the department, beginning with a Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system. Chief Broderick also implemented a new Records Data Management system, with a Mobile Data System (MDS), and a new CAD system accessible by field patrol units via laptop computers in the cars.
Chief Broderick allocated "less lethal" ammunition to all of the police department shotguns, which gave police officers another option to use in the field for dangerous situations.

The 2000's

training2King F. Davis was hired as Azusa's 10th Chief of Police in 2000.  Having spent the bulk of his career working for the United States Secret Service guarding U.S. Presidents, he brought a national prospective to the Azusa Police Department. Chief Davis focused on community policing and championed the establishment of the Service Area Commander (SAC) program to place accountability on geographic regions of the city with sworn police officers. The concept behind this program was to allow residents and businesses quick access to police officers responsible for their area, and improved responsiveness to community needs. Chief Davis also oversaw the improvement of the department's weaponry and physical fitness.
Chief Robert B. Garcia took over in July 2006. Chief Garcia was the first Hispanic police chief in the City's 108 year history. He worked his way up through the ranks, and was appointed chief after 24 years with the department. Chief Garcia continued a strong commitment to community-oriented policing principles and a pro-active approach to crime problems in the community.
Chief Garcia oversaw an intensive in-house training program which tripled the state's Peace Officer Standards On Training ("POST") minimum requirements. He was an innovator in terms of approving the wearing of alternative uniforms, scheduling practices, and technology.
Under Chief Garcia, the department was able to acquire electronic control devices, commonly referred to as "TASER's."  During his tenure, Chief Garcia placed special emphasis on formal education requirements for his staff.

The 2010's

graduationChief Sam Gonzalez was the 12th Chief of Police.  Chief Gonzalez was responsible for the design of the current police station, as he was the manager of the project in the late 1990's. After taking the lead of the department in January of 2012, he implemented new programs within the department to address the early release of criminals due to federal mandates imposed on the prison system.
Chief Gonzalez acquired a cooperative effort with Azusa Pacific University to place an officer on their campus. He was committed to ensuring all of the fine men and women of the Azusa Police Department abide by the department’s motto of providing, “Professional Service To A Proud Community."

"The history of the Azusa Police Department reflects far more than the accomplishments made by former Chiefs of Police. Indeed, there are many untold stories of accomplishment and sacrifice as Azusa police officers routinely confront life-threatening situations and conduct acts of heroism which frequently go unnoticed, yet accepted as "part of the job."

It is the proud professionalism of these dedicated men and women that have made, and continue to make, the Azusa Police Department the unique organization it is today."