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
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
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
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