Judge Ed Beach gives Police Chief Bob Gonzales a hug and a big thank you for serving Santa Paula for 33 years as a Police Officer and Police Chief. Over 500 people had reserved tickets for his retirement dinner last Friday thanking Chief Gonzales for his service. Photo by Don Johnson

Police Chief Bob Gonzales retires

October 05, 2005
Chief Bob Gonzales: 33-year SPPD career capped by accolades
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesA crowd of more than 500 people, community supporters and members of the local and larger law enforcement community, turned out Friday to wish a fond farewell to retiring Santa Paula Police Chief Bob Gonzales. Gonzales, a native Santa Paulan, retired after 33 years with the Santa Paula Police Department, six years as chief.The Rotary Barbecue Team served steaks in the parking lot before the program started inside the Community Center.“We’re both in the same business... enforcing the law,” Father Charles Lueras noted, and Attorney James Farley offered a traditional Irish toast. Acting SPPD Chief Mark Hanson led the program, noting that “This is an awesome turnout for an awesome guy” before offering thanks to those who organized the dinner and introducing notables, many from the law enforcement community.Attending the event were former SPPD Chief Walt Adair, as well as late Chief C. Ray Tull’s wife Norma and son Warren. Former Captains Bill Saviers, Hal Barker and Lt. Doyle Kelley - the latter still working for the SPPD - also attended. Judges, present and retired police chiefs from other agencies, and FBI and Department of Justice personnel who all worked with Gonzales over his years with the SPPD also attended.Vince France, the retired Ojai police chief, was the master of ceremonies, and noted the similarities between himself and Gonzales. A native of Ojai, “I was a hometown boy who did good, and Bob is a homeboy that did good!”A film of Gonzales’ life and career was shown before an array of tributes was presented to the retiring Chief.Gonzales was affectionately joshed by members of the SPPD, with Sgt. Carlos Juarez noting that the evening’s turnout was about double the size when Gonzales was sworn in: “Funny, more want to see you go!” But, “Working in such close quarters is like a family,” Sgt. Juarez said. “On major incidents, the Chief has been there for food or to comfort the victims. Why bring us coffee and donuts? It’s one of the roles of being a leader. It’s not only been a pleasure to work for you, but alongside of you.”SPPD Sgt. Troyce Reynolds of the Special Response Team and Reserve Officer Mark Cagnacci also presented plaques to Gonzales.“I’ve known Bob for about 20 years,” said Ventura County Sheriff Bob Brooks. Gonzales’ “secret wish” was to join the VCSD, and “We’ve done so much positive work together, I consider Bob one of us.”Supervisor Kathy Long noted Gonzales’ contributions to the department and the community overall.Mayor Mary Ann Krause and members of the Council presented Gonzales with a proclamation detailing his long career. “We’re all a product of the community we live in, and I congratulate your mother Helen,” noted Councilman Gabino Aguirre. Councilman John Procter said that Gonzales “put a friendly face on law enforcement.”“The chief was always very supportive and we appreciate that.... It was a joy and a privilege to work with the SPPD,” said Fire Chief Paul Skeels, who presented a U.S. map to Gonzales, who is planning a lengthy motorcycle road trip.
Gonzales was an “effective advocate” whose top priority was keeping the citizens safe, noted City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz.Brian Miller presented Gonzales with a plaque and flag flown over the Capital on behalf of Rep. Elton Gallegly, and members of the Ventura Community College District - where Gonzales served as a trustee following service on the SPUHS and SPESD boards - also lauded him.District Attorney Greg Totten sent a letter, noting “I will miss you greatly.... You set an example of a police chief who truly loves his community.”SPPD Sgt. Ish Cordero and Alan Bice of the Ventura County Police Officers Association noted Gonzales’ contributions to the organization, and League of United Latin American Citizens Chapter President and former Councilwoman Laura Flores Espinosa said that it was during “tumultuous times” that citizens demanded that Gonzales be made the first Latino chief in the city’s history.“I just want to say how very, very proud I am of him,” said Gonzales’ son Steven, a Santa Barbara officer.Hanson read a letter from state Attorney General Bill Lockyer before presenting Gonzales with a shadow box filled with his SPPD patches and badges.“You touched my head and my heart, and I thank you for it,” Gonzales noted. “...It is because of my mom I am who I am,” with former teachers, coaches and Boy Scout leaders and other relatives also helping to shape his life and career, during which “I watched and studied and learned with the best.” Gonzales thanked his other family members including his daughter Amanda, noting that “Police work took a toll on the family, but you were all great.”Carolyn Gonzales and her sons Kyle and Evan were also lauded by Gonzales, who said that his wife “is my rock... I thank you very much.” Gonzales’ mother was his greatest influence, and “taught me to stay down when the odds were not good.... Tonight all of these things are for you, too.”The Santa Paula community “came to my rescue when I didn’t make chief” and turned the tide in his favor, noted Gonzales. “My ride in Santa Paula has been an E ticket, and it’s been a great 33 years serving five generations with officers that are some of the best.”Justice Ed Beach offered closing remarks centered on Gonzales’ long service and involvement in the community.

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