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Aceves Named New Police Chief
LA MESA -- La Mesa City Manager Dave Witt has announced the selection of 25-year La Mesa Police Department veteran Edward (Ed) Aceves, as the City’s new Chief of Police.
Witt said that Aceves competed against candidates from outside the organization and proved that he has exceptional qualities that will help him succeed in his new position. Aceves has served as Police Captain, overseeing each of the Police Department’s three divisions during his tenure. Last month he was appointed acting Chief of Police upon the retirement of Chief Alan Lanning.
"I am honored to be selected,'' Aceves said Monday afternoon. Aceves said Witt informed him of his choice this morning and the new chief quickly called his wife and children.
"They had been more nervous about this than I was,'' Aceves said.
Aceves began his career with the La Mesa Police Department as a reserve police officer in 1985. In 1986, he was hired as a full-time police officer, where his assignments included patrol officer, detective, DARE officer, field training officer, and department instructor for defensive tactics and emergency vehicle operations. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1997, Lieutenant in 2002, and Captain in 2005. During this time, Aceves has supervised the patrol, traffic, and investigative units, along with performing duties as the Master Officer Coordinator and Special Response Team (SRT) Commander.
In 2009, Aceves attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, a 3-month leadership program established by the FBI to provide training and networking opportunities to local and state law enforcement agencies. He is currently pursuing a postgraduate master of criminal justice, after receiving a scholarship from the FBI NAA.
While working at the La Mesa Police Department, some of his notable assignments and accomplishments include being selected to participate on the International Security Team for the Olympic Games, where he traveled to Atlanta to work with 5,000 other police officers from all over the world, providing security for the 1996 Summer Games. More recently, Aceves was assigned as the police project coordinator for the construction of the new La Mesa Police facility, which opened September 20, 2010.
Aceves grew up in La Mesa, and graduated form Helix High School. He and his wife reside in La Mesa where they raised their two daughters, who also graduated from Helix Charter High School and are currently attending college full-time
“Ed participated in a very thorough application process that attracted a wide range of candidates from both inside and out of the region. I have every confidence that Ed is the most qualified candidate for La Mesa’s new Chief and will continue to provide that energy and professional commitment needed in his new role with the Department,” Witt said.
With any appointment of a new chief, there is always tension between those who believe an outsider will bring new blood and stimulate new thinking and those who believe honoring the existing chain of command serves the department best.
Aceves said he felt qualified for the post, but never took his appointment for granted.
"Sometimes people feel they need to go outside if they feel they need to take a new direction or if a department isn't taking the direction the city wants, but that wasn't the situation here,'' Aceves said. "Chief Lanning had run this department well and I intend to make sure we keep doing that.''
Mayor Art Madrid praised Aceves saying "The city manager selected him as the new chief and I know he will be up to maintaining the public safety standards to which this community has become accustomed.''
Madrid said the new chief will undoubtedly face some familiar issues that were facing his predecessor, including on-going efforts by city officials to find efficiencies in combining some services with surrounding communities.
City officials have already talked about combining animal services and police dispatch services with other nearby communities and those pressures to improve efficiency, cut costs and improve the range of expertise available to the community will continue, Madrid said.
"I'm going to continue to pursue it,'' Madrid said, but said he felt it was premature to consider going as far as cities like Santee and Lemon Grove, which contract for police services with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
Witt (in photo right) acknowledged that weighing inside versus outside candidates brought differing views from some, but he said he handled that issue by insisting that the internal candidate be compared against the full range of candidates pursuing a position like this.
Witt said the intial applicants came from throughout the U.S. and California and the three finalists also included another San Diego candidate and a finalist from Northern California.
"In the end, I felt Ed Aceves was the right person for this department at this time,'' Witt said.
Witt said questions about interdepartmental cooperation and consolidation efforts were part of the many general questions candidates for the position faced.