Perspective with the chief

A year into his service as police chief of Newport Beach, John Klein talks about what’s changed and his plans for the future.

July 02, 2008|By Joseph Serna

Tuesday marked one year to the day that Newport Beach Police Chief John Klein was sworn into office.

In his first days as chief, the department was preparing for the Fourth of July, and officers were still reeling from having to shoot a man fatally in self-defense.

In an interview marking the anniversary as his first day as chief, Klein spoke on issues facing the city and what’s changed.


Following are excerpts from the interview.

Q. When was a time in which it was hard to find the best in something?

A. I went through some difficult times in the paper where people were expressing concerns about morale in the department, and it was difficult dealing with at the time. But as we went through it, the majority of the department stood up and said that things are going well, and they are happy with the way things are going.

Certainly, not everyone is going to be happy all the time. It brought out a couple issues that we had to address, but overall, I look at it as a positive experience because it brought out some things to light

Q. What were those issues, and how did you deal with them?

A. There were some concerns with some people’s perceptions of whether they were being treated fairly. We have lateral officers, entry officers, people that have been here long time, people who have been here a short period of time, and there’s always conflicts in what they think of job selection and those types of things.

It brought out that some people were concerned with that.

Q. The bars on the peninsula, they’re a major issue. Members of the community are always concerned about them and people driving under the influence. What did you do in your first year, and what do you plan to do in the future?

A. In all the time I’ve been here, we’ve had people that come to Newport Beach, on the peninsula, and other areas of town as well that do frequent the [alcohol] establishments. On the peninsula it has caused some problems. Not necessarily with the establishments themselves, but with people coming and going. We had to look at that.

One of the things we did last summer is I assigned our bicycle unit of four officers to really address the issue in and around the establishments. We increased our attention to some of the disruptive behavior happening around the bar and in the neighborhoods. We got really a positive reaction from the community. But again that was only enforcement, and that was not enough.

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