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Beverly Hills Welcomes New Police Chief

Following the examination of 141 applications calling 13 candidates for multiple rounds of interviews, an internal team channeled by the retired County Sheriff of Los Angeles Jim McDonnell has chosen the new chief of Police Department of the Beverly Hills.

Mark Stainbrook, who will start his new position by the end of November, is presently the chief of police and vice president of public safety for the Port of San Diego. In the meantime, he stated he will be going through city policy and agreements.

He said “Honestly, I’m just excited, and I’m ready to get to work,” He retired recently after serving for 32 years of service as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. 

In whose place he has been appointed as the new chief police?

The new chief will be taking the place of Dominick Rivetti, who worked as the interim police chief following the retirement of Sandra Spagnoli in April 2020. Throughout her term, she had been stained by several lawsuit settlements and accusations of being partial and backlash that started in November 2018. However, Stainbrook cited that he does not prefer to dig too much into the past and he can see the bright future of the city as well as the department.

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He said “My leadership style is a lot about the success of my people; I’m only as successful as they are,” adding further “My job is to go in and create an … adaptive organization where people can bring out the best in themselves. When a new leader comes in, that’s an opportunity for everybody to take a little bit of a fresh start.”

As far as tackling some of the prominent crimes that Beverly Hills has witnessed, for example, take the Il Pastaio robbery in March, Stainbrook claimed he thinks that “everything goes back to the basics,” like high prominence patrols and public engagement.

Beverly Hills

He said “From what I’ve seen and what I’ve read about the work that the department’s doing, I think they’re doing a great job, and [I’m] very excited to come work up there,” adding further “I think there’s a lot of good police work going on, a lot of good community outreach going on.”

In addition to that, Stainbrook stated it seems that the city has a “pretty good game plan” when it comes to handling demonstrations since Beverly Hills has had lots of practice as of late.

“I think it’s always important to strike that balance of free speech and making sure people have the right to protest, but also that it’s done in a way where it doesn’t cause violence to others or damage property and those kinds of things,” he claimed, adding that he already knew about the incident that happened on National Walk to School Day when students attacked a group of anti-vaccine opposers.

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Stainbrook added he was well versed with the tribal profiling accusations that have been imposed against the Rodeo Drive task force of the department, however, he said that he does not have much idea other than the common public. Although integrity in policing is of the most significance, he added.

“I’ve dealt with similar issues over the years and in my career, so I don’t tolerate any sort of racial profiling or [by] any other means. We have to follow the laws, the applicable policies, and procedures. I worked counterterrorism for many years, and we kind of had similar concerns, for example, from the Muslim community. What we look at is behaviors, not a person’s race or ethnicity or gender or religion.”

Stainbrook said that the general imposition of law has been under heavy public scrutiny for the last several years but that gives the department a chance for additional community engagement.

“I think our communities want to get to know us, they want to know the challenges and they generally really want to be supportive, but we have to work hard to push out that narrative and we have to work hard to communicate the things that are going on. If we don’t, you know other people will.”

He said he is obliged for the chance he is provided with although he is slightly nervous about his new beginnings. However, he is well versed in getting into leadership roles in a somewhat new place (he is already familiar with the city pretty well from his term with the Los Angeles Police Department, which started in 1995).

Stainbrook joined the Port of San Diego as an assistant chief in 2011 following the beginning of his law enforcement career with the LAPD where he served in the Hollywood, Central, West L.A., Internal Affairs, Pacific, Southeast, and 77th divisions, as well as the Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau. 

Stainbrook said there are certain uniformities between Beverly Hills and San Diego. For one, both the places are considered as high-profile tourist destinations. Both cities also have a giant level of community service and a mentality that there is “no call too small.”

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“Beverly Hills is a first-class, international city, and the thought of being able to work there and interact in that environment just appealed to me on a professional and career level. … And it was also a chance to go into a community that’s supportive of law enforcement and seems to have a good direction for the future.”

Ongoing Lawsuits against the Department for discrimination and retaliation

Attorney Brad Gage, who reported several lawsuits against the city and department when Spagnoli used to be the chief, stated he wishes the new chief success. He also has a continuing class-action lawsuit filed against the department related to the Rodeo Drive task force.

He said “I am hopeful that the new police chief will take on those problems and help to solve them and heal the wounds that have existed, both to members of the department and also the greater community,” adding further that presently he has an ongoing case against the department on the account of an employee. Although the accusations of discrimination and retaliation have “tapered a bit” after the resignation of Spagnoli, Gage claimed.

Who was there while conducting the interview?

According to reports obtained from the city itself, the internal team that interviewed candidates involved McDonnell, Rivetti, Assistant City Manager Nancy Hunt-Coffey, and Human Resources Director Shelley Ovrom. The 141 applicants were reduced down to 13 candidates, and among them, five were chosen to interview with Beverly Hills City Council members, community members, and other officials. An application came from within the department, but the city refused to recognize the applicant, claiming confidentiality reasons.

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