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Thoughts from the bullpen: LaChasse is the man for the job

November 09, 2010|By Craig Sherwood

Interim Police Chief Scott LaChasse must go.

Permanent Police Chief Scott LaChasse must be hired.

It has now been more than 10 months since former Police Chief Tim Stehr stepped down amid all of the problems and allegations in the Burbank Police Department. While Stehr was probably a victim of circumstances, it was still clear a change had to be made not only at the top, but a philosophical change was needed in the entire department.

City Manager Mike Flad was under pressure from all sides of the aisle to not only take action, but restore public confidence in a department that already was full of good police officers who in many circumstances were taking a bad rap.


His hiring of LaChasse, a former deputy chief for the Los Angeles Police Department, was a homerun. Not only had he commanded bureaus that covered more than 1,500 personnel, he was born in Glendale, and living in that community for 40 years, understood what life in a small community was all about. It gave Burbank someone with that small-town feel, yet big-city experience. It is now time for him to take the next step.

Before I called for his permanent hire, I talked to him to find out about what has happened in the department to not only heal some internal wounds, but what is being done to fix the public trust, as well to make the current officers who have been unfairly criticized, stronger.

To start with, they have purchased complex software called I.A. Pro, which when filled in on a regular basis, will red-flag certain officers for certain situations or something that might be recurring but not noticed. When a red flag occurs, the officer is brought in to talk in a non-threatening environment to work things out. It is not meant to discipline an officer, just help with his professional development.

LaChasse has also brought in a psychologist to talk with officers about their feelings toward the department. He also keeps an open-door policy anytime someone wants to talk. I know that words like "transparency" and "open door" are all politically correct buzz words, but my experience with the chief in the last few months back that policy up. I have now done numerous video interviews that appear on my website, as well as this interview that was not restricted in any way. He is accessible and articulate.

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