An inside introduction to the Gilroy Police Department

Welcome to the Gilroy Citizen Police Academy

said Chief Gregg Giusiana last Tuesday evening addressing our
class of 20 local Gilroy residents (both men and women of mixed
ages), as we assembled in the briefing room at the police
“Welcome to the Gilroy Citizen Police Academy” said Chief Gregg Giusiana last Tuesday evening addressing our class of 20 local Gilroy residents (both men and women of mixed ages), as we assembled in the briefing room at the police department.

Yes, this local Crusader is pleased to be part of the sixth GPD Citizen Police Academy, held weekly through June 7; it involves a total of over 40 hours of training over 14 weeks. This program is designed to provide Gilroy residents with an inside look at the Gilroy Police Department. The program’s goal is to promote a better understanding and partnership between GPD and the members of the community. The Dispatch periodically publishes announcements well in advance of when the academy will be held. The academy is open to the general public for application to attend, but final selection is by invitation, after an applicant (over age 18), is able to pass a background check, and either lives or works in Gilroy.

I had never met Chief Giusiana before last Tuesday evening, but I came away after spending three hours with him, thoroughly impressed with his humility, openness, transparency, and dedication to duty for the benefit of the Gilroy community. He certainly did not have to address the class, but by doing so, it proved to me his actions back-up his words, and that is genuinely is interested in citizen involvement in GPD. By-the-way, his rise to the top of GPD is a success story in itself, having worked his way up in the department after joining GPD in the mid-1970’s as a patrol officer. Chief Giusiana has an investment in Gilroy of over 30 years, not only living here in town, but being involved in local community activities as well.

Class members were very eager to ask the chief questions about a variety of local issues, such as crime, gangs, growth of the city, the new police facility, and the role of the sheriff’s department with GPD. While many of these topics will be dealt with in detail in future classes, the chief was able to address each of these areas with candidness and clarity. The fact is that while the city is going to grow in population, the budget facts are that GPD is showing a flat no-growth in sworn officer head count – 61 – over the next five years. That population includes 1 chief, 1 assistant chief, 3 captains, 10 sergeants, 8 corporals, and 38 officers. GPD’s non-sworn head count will also remain flat over this same five-year period at 43. Non-sworn head count includes such functions as administrative secretaries, office assistants, communications, records, crime analyst, evidence/property and community services officers. These are all vital functions for a police department to function effectively.

Therefore, it’s easy to see how critical it is for all the sworn officers to be involved in multiple callout and special assignments that a police force needs to perform. A “sworn officer” is a designation by the state that gives a person holding such a position the lawful right to carry a firearm, and act in behalf of a police agency to make an arrest and perform other duties.

So for GPD, innovation, teamwork and flexibility are the key to a no-growth head count projection, and citizen involvement is a necessary part of the teamwork equation. Right now, some 30 citizens who have gone through previous academies are involved (by their choice) in the Volunteers in Policing program, and they perform a number of time-consuming duties that free sworn officers more time to be able to be on street patrol and catch bad guys.

I also found the following GPD principles to be of practical interest. MISSION: providing excellent public safety services in partnership with the community. MOTTO: pride, professionalism, service. VISION: building community partnerships to provide a safe environment in which to live, work and play. VALUES: Respect – appreciate the importance of citizens, fellow employees and the law. Integrity – to act at all times with courage, honor and truthfulness. Compassion – making decisions and taking action with empathy and consideration for others. Teamwork – working together to achieve common goals. Innovation – solution oriented, creative, flexible and willing to take risks. Accountability – responsible in our words and actions.

GPD is not perfect. But as a key part of city government, it is actively working with citizen involvement, to make Gilroy a place “where every man feels safe on his streets and in the house of his friends.” (Lyndon B. Johnson, former U.S. President)

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