Interim chief named

Man who has led the Long Beach, Riverside, Redondo Beach departments cites Balboa Peninsula as priority.

July 09, 2009|By Joseph Serna

Newport Beach has a new chief of police starting today, and his name is Robert Luman, a law enforcement veteran of nearly four decades.

Luman, 62, is taking over the department as interim chief for the next six months under a $110,000 contract after John Klein announced his intention to step down last month. Klein had been with the department for 30 years, the last two as chief of police.

Luman started his career with Long Beach police in 1968 and rose to become chief in 1996.

He then became interim chief for the city of Riverside in 2000 and chief of police in Redondo Beach from 2002 to 2006.


City Manager Homer Bludau hired Luman. He will remain on while Bludau transitions out of his post in September and brings on a replacement who will select a permanent leader for the department.

Luman said he plans to continue many of the successes Klein brought during his tenure, including increased enforcement on the Balboa Peninsula near the popular alcohol establishments. Klein’s resignation came amid calls from police unions for a redo of the selection process for his position, and some in the department accusing him of cronyism in promotions. It came to light earlier this year that Klein was recruited as chief improperly, and unions jumped on it as a chance to re-recruit for the position.

“My take on [the department] is what’s happened is history,” Luman said. “All we can do with history is learn from it. I think we increase morale by being fair and equitable to everyone in the department.”

Luman emphasized that Klein did a fine job as chief and he will have a learning curve before he’ll see areas in the department to address.

“I think initially what I need to do is get down there, dig in, become knowledgeable about what’s going in the department and make those decisions,” he said.

“Going in and maintaining an organization is not a viable option in my opinion. If you’re doing that you’re going backward.

“I’m fair, I’m honest, I try to have a high degree of integrity,” Luman continued. “I work hard and expect the people who work with me to work hard. Hopefully we’ll do a good job.”

Luman has a master’s degree in public administration from USC and a bachelor’s degree from Cal State Dominguez Hills.

In a news release, Bludau said the word “integrity” continually came up when he interviewed Luman’s associates.

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