For 2022, the Seal Beach Police Department wants to remind the community that it is Seal Beach FOCUSED.
Seal Beach Police Chief Philip L. Gonshak has released his vision statement for 2022. This year’s emphasis will be on the community as a whole, and how the SBPD will continue to be FOCUSED on protecting the Seal Beach community.
· F – FIRST ON SCENE. The Seal Beach Police Department is dedicated to responding to every emergency call for service as fast and as safe as possible. We pride ourselves on having the fastest response times available. We will continue to help reduce response times by ensuring our police officers are physically in the field and on the streets as much as possible. We will do this by strategically placing our staff throughout the city when not tending to a call for service.
· O – OPENNESS. We are not naïve to the fact that we do not know everything. We want to learn from the community on how we can better serve our residents, businesses, and visitors of Seal Beach. We appreciate all our community’s input and encourage anyone with questions to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook via @SealBeachPolice
· C – CUSTOMER/COMMUNITY SERVICE. Much like traditional businesses, our focus is always on customer service. Moreover, in our case we want to focus on BOTH our customers and our community. This means all Seal Beach Police
Department staff will be held to the highest of standards. It is our promise to present ourselves with honor, integrity, professionalism, respect, and we will do all of this without bias.
· U – UNDERSTANDING. Over the past few years, we’ve seen nationwide calls for police reform. Although not everyone will be able to agree on everything, we will strive to, at a minimum, understand different points of view, different cultures, and different life choices. In return, it is our hope residents, businesses and visitors understand us.
· S – SCHOOL SAFETY. The safety of our children at J.H. McGaugh Elementary School will ALWAYS be one of our highest priorities. In 2022, we will be holding a town hall meeting on school safety and will continue to work closely with Dr. Gates and his McGaugh Staff to ensure our students are kept safe when they are away from home. We will continue to attend monthly PTA meetings, will attend quarterly Los Alamitos Unified School District Working Group meetings, and will continue to staff police officers on campus when available. Lastly, we will be conducting realistic emergency drills on school grounds, to ensure staff and students know what to do when an emergency public safety response is needed on campus.
· E – EDUCATION. We believe in increasing our level of education for all Seal Beach Police Department personnel. This includes encouraging staff to continue their formal education, in addition to regularly sending all staff to a variety of law enforcement based professional development and specialty classes such as de-escalation of force training, training on policing best practices, latest case law, police tactics, and policies and procedures.
· D – DRIVE DOWN CRIME AND IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR ALL RESIDENTS, BUSINESSES, and VISITORS. This is our mission statement, and we stand by it every day. Reducing crime and making people feel safe and secure in this community is the driving principle behind all of our actions and decisions.
“The Seal Beach FOCUSED campaign is a clear way of understanding the priorities of the Police Department,” said City Manager Jill Ingram. “An understanding, fast responding, and educated police force are what residents want of their police department. It is evident that Chief Gonshak and every member of the SBPD cares for this community and strives to deliver services in a professional and compassionate manner.”
“We are very much looking forward to this new year,” said Chief of Police Phil Gonshak. “Last year the City, Police Department, and community were able to come together for face many challenges. I truly believe that through these challenges we became a closer and more tight-knit community. None of this can be done alone and I sincerely appreciate the hardworking men and women of the Seal Beach Police Department for their time, effort and dedication. I also want to thank the Seal Beach City Council and City Manager Jill Ingram for their continued support and guidance. As we enter 2022, please remember that the SBPD is FOCUSED on your safety. We are only a phone call away (non-emergency number (562) 594-7232, emergencies dials 9-1-1).”
For 2021, the Seal Beach Police Department wants to remind the community that it CARES.
Seal Beach Police Chief Philip L. Gonshak has released his vision statement for 2021. This year’s focus will be on the community, and how the SBPD will continue to CARE for the Seal Beach community.
· C – Community Traffic Safety
The Seal Beach Police Department will continue to focus on community traffic safety. By reorganizing the SBPD Traffic Bureau, we will be able to direct the traffic resources already at our disposal. Traffic enforcement officers will be both reactive and proactive, responding to community complaints and safety issues as they arise. We will target specific traffic trends in need of enforcement efforts such as street racing, commercial enforcement, and Leisure World issues.
A – Always Listening and Learning
o The Seal Beach Police Department is dedicated to listening and learning from the community. We will collaborate with the community to determine exactly what they expect from their police department and how we can work together to improve community relations.
R – Responsive to Quality of Life Issues
o Besides working to drive down crime in Seal Beach, we will also continue to focus on quality of life issues and respond to all calls for service, regardless of the nature.
E – Enhance Partnerships with Residents, Businesses, and Visitors
o We will improve the level and efficiency of the service we provide through enhanced community partnerships. Opportunities for community outreach will be organized with the objective of seeking input on new and continuing local issues for global based strategies and problem-solving.
S – Strengthen Relationships with McGaugh Students and Faculty
The Seal Beach Police Department will provide opportunities for positive interactions with McGaugh students, parents, faculty, and the SBPD staff.
“We are very excited for a busy and productive 2021,” said Chief of Police Phil Gonshak. “The year 2020 brought many challenges that we worked diligently to overcome and I cannot thank the hardworking men and women of the Seal Beach Police Department enough for all their efforts. We also want to thank the Seal Beach City Council for approving the Seal Beach Police Department Reorganization Plan and City Manager Jill Ingram for her support and guidance along the way. I know there will be new challenges in 2021, but we look forward to working with the community on new and innovative strategies to help protect Seal Beach.”
To learn more about the ways the Seal Beach Police Department helps to keep our community safe, follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @sealbeachpolice.
Police Chief Phil Gonshak came to Seal Beach in 2007. His plans include a “Seal Beach First Campaign” through his Public Information Office. The purpose of this campaign is:
1) To promote crime prevention through community engagement
2) To increase security and safety of all of our parents, children and staff at McGaugh Elementary
3) Provide relatable opportunities for the community to experience law enforcement first hand via a Seal Beach Police Department Citizens Academy
4) To improve the Seal Beach Police Department’s technological infrastructure
5) To create internal staff development processes and matrices through training and formal education partnerships
Seal Beach First
The “Seal Beach First Campaign” is expected to include a regular series of crime prevention through community engagement articles in the Sun Newspaper, tentatively titled “The Briefing Room.” The purpose of this is to provide the community and those interested with critical weekly updates and perhaps some of the funny stories that our officers experience in the course of their duties (no names will be shared). A daily social media campaign, police department website updating, door hanging emergency services “how to” flyers, and additional Coffee with a Cop meetings are some of the ideas he has for this campaign.
As the father of three daughters, two of whom attended McGaugh Elementary School from Kindergarten-5th Grade, Chief Gonshak is passionate about the safety of the school. He wants to see brighter crosswalks painted as well as increased patrols and enforcement in the area around the school.
He also wants to embrace the already established relationships and partnerships he has with what he describes as “sensational people” like LAUSD Superintendent Andrew Pulver and the McGaugh Principal, Roni Ellis. Gonshak also said children need to see police officers as a resource for help. He said police officers often receive requests from parents to help with their children, but unfortunately these requests take the form of parents threatening to have their children arrested if they misbehave – “Our entire image (the uniform, badge and gun) is based on fear and I want to get out of the fear business, as it pertains to our children.” Instead of fearing the police, Chief Gonshak wants children to run towards officers during an emergency. Furthermore, it has been his promise for the past year to both Principal Ellis and the PTA to have a police department representative attend every single PTA meeting for the simple idea of opening greater lines of communication between parents and the city.
Seal Beach Police Department’s Citizens Academy
As part of the “Seal Beach First Campaign,” Chief Gonshak plans to have a “citizens’ academy” to teach the community more about their police department. “This program will help teach our community what the police department does on a daily basis and will provide them an opportunity to understand the life and death situations that need a reaction within seconds of processing the information.”
Chief Gonshak said Patrol Corporal Joe Garcia came forward with the idea a year ago when testing for promotion, and has been getting the ball rolling ever since. A program description will be presented to the Seal Beach City Council at 7 p.m. on Jan. 13, 2020, at City Council Chambers – with a TBD start date/time in February 2020.
One of his goals is for the Seal Beach Police Department is to become a paperless police department – “We need to finally become technologically advanced,” he said. For example, the police department has not implemented body cameras for officers. Gonshak plans to roll out body cameras in the next year or two, as this project has become a countywide trend that we need to be part of – “The benefit is to protect internal investigations from he said/she said” situations, Gonshak stated. Additionally, the cameras would give officers the advantage of providing a much more detailed report and will protect our officers from suspects “lodging false complaints.”
He described body cameras as beneficial to internal investigations and will aid in successful prosecutions.
According to the Chief, the city would also benefit from Automated License Plate Reading (ALPR) technology. Sgt. Nick Nicholas, the new public information officer and operations/administrative sergeant, once used ALPR technology to locate a missing woman from Leisure World. She was entered into the system as a critical missing person who was last seen in her vehicle. Nicholas logged into the
ALPR system, set up an alert, and 20 minutes later received an email that the woman’s license plate had been scanned in Chino, California. Sgt. Nicholas coordinated with officers from that department to locate the missing woman and reunited her with her family.
Sgt. Nicholas explained that the ALPR takes photographs of license plates and geotags the locations of vehicles, making the ALPR extremely helpful to investigations. Another helpful tool is when a vehicle is entered into the stolen vehicle system; it becomes “synced” with ALPR and will alert officers audibly if they drive by a reported stolen vehicle. According to Sergeant Nicholas, a rough estimate of the cost in placing an ALPR camera at every intersection in Seal Beach would be approximately $500,000. Gonshak confirmed there is no grant money for the project.
Internal staff development and education
Chief Gonshak believes education is of paramount importance to policework police work. He noted that the City has excellent employee benefits regarding its tuition reimbursement program which, coupled with training, allows officers the necessary tools to promote and affords him the ability to recruit from within. Police Science studies have shown that law enforcement officers with training and education above the required state guidelines reduce both use of force and complaint driven incidents.
Chief Gonshak on all the changes
“Two things law enforcement professionals can’t stand is change and no change,” Gonshak said. The changes brought by his promotion have created a need to train a few additional leaders in their new assignments. He said it will be of minimal challenge to simultaneously train them, as his SBPD staff is prepared and excited to hit the ground running. The 2020/2021 Fiscal Year budget process will determine whether or not the police department will seek additional officers and/or professional staffing.
“One of the benefits of working here is we are respected by both our community and other law enforcement agencies,” Chief Gonshak said. He said SBPD is respected because the officers are known for treating people both inside and outside of our profession with respect dignity and kindness.
Seal Beach residents love their community, as evidenced by the last two police open house events at headquarters. Citizens who wish to make donations to the SBPD can make them to the Seal Beach Police Officers’ Association. For more information contact Officer Eric Tittle at 562-799-4100 ext. 1627.
“The cops love the community, too,” Sgt. Nicholas said.
Gonshak related that morale is high among Seal Beach officers. “We have a good time, but when it comes down to police work, we handle our business,” Gonshak said stated.
Gonshak said he was appreciative of the way Seal Beach citizens treat Seal Beach officers.
“I can’t tell you what that means to our staff,” Gonshak said.
He thanked the city manager and the City Council for trusting the SBPD to promote from within.
He also noted, “There’s an honor in wearing this uniform.” It is his goal to continue promoting this message from within.