One city’s loss is another agency’s gain.
National City Police Chief Adolfo Gonzales has accepted a position at the District Attorney’s Office as bureau investigation chief and is expected to begin at the end of this month.
In his new role, Gonzales, 57, will lead the law enforcement division of the DA’s office.
Gonzales, who receives an annual salary of $153,000 in National City, will see an increase to $175,000. He replaces retired chief Paula Robinson.
Gonzales said he’s excited to start this new chapter in his career and hopes to learn as much as possible from the organization and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.
“I’ve spent six months working for the FBI and six months working for the DEA and I really enjoy the administration,” Gonzales said. “This is a chance to work countywide. Now I have the opportunity to serve the residents throughout San Diego.”
In a Feb. 25 press release from the District Attorney’s Office, Dumanis said the agency is fortunate to have him.
“Adolfo Gonzales has a stellar reputation in local law enforcement…” she stated.
Gonzales’ colleagues agree.
“Chief Gonzales was the exact person that we needed at the time, he came here very community oriented,” National City Mayor Ron Morrison said.
Morrison said Gonzales’s ability to shift the negative perception of the police department to a more positive community image made him a huge asset.
“He was a very approachable individual,” Morrison said. “Sometimes within the police world things get very regimented but that just wasn’t him, he was very humanistic, both in criticism and in praise.”
When Gonzales was hired in 2004 his priorities were to enhance the relationship between the police department and community, reduce crime, develop training and certification, and create a department more reflective of the community.
“We started partnerships with Foodland and the (National City) police officers association to deliver Thanksgiving dinners, toys and holiday dinners and we did that through a partnership with the low riders (community),” he said.
National City Councilwoman Alejandra Sotelo-Solis said his efforts will be missed.
“He’s been a strong advocate for the lowrider community and our homeless community,” she said. “He’s been able to make a change.”
Another focus for Gonzales was an effort to combat drunken and drugged driving.
“My father was killed by a drunk driver,” he said. “I made it my goal to try and reduce it everywhere I go and I’m very pleased to say that it’s very safe here in National City. We haven’t had any reported fatal DUI accidents since 2004 and it has a lot to do with community outreach and our officers being vigilant in taking drunk drivers off the street.”
Sotelo-Solis said the energy Gonzales has brought to the department is something the city council will look for in the next chief, a task National City City Manager Leslie Deese will perform.
Deese was brought on as an assistant city manager at the same time Gonzales was hired.
“Under his leadership the National City Police Department has developed into an even stronger, better-equipped department and he’s done an outstanding job fostering solid working relationships within the community,” Deese said.
“We’ll miss him in National City and I wish him only the best in his new position.”
Morrison said he’d love for Gonzales to stay in National City but understands the bigger picture.
“That aspect of him being able to reach out and touch people is going to be extremely missed,” he said. “But this is a great career advancement and a compliment to our force and the leadership that we have here.”
Gonzales said he’s been honored to serve National City.
“I’d like to thank the mayor and council and city manager and the men and women that make up the police department, because they are very dedicated and caring in their public service efforts,” Gonzales said. “And all of our partners in the community, residents, businesses — they’ve all played a role in making our city safer and more secure.”
Gonzales has nearly 35 years of law enforcement and management experience.
Prior to serving National City, he began his law enforcement career as a San Diego Police Department reserve officer where he worked for 26 years, three as assistant police chief.
Gonzales has received many awards, which include excellence in public service and police chief of the year.
A farewell ceremony will be held for Gonzales in the near future, according to Morrison.