New police chief aims to snuff gangsBy Mark Abramson
Expanding the Police Department's gang-prevention efforts, beefing up training for officers and starting a mentoring program are just a few of Capt. Neil Telford's plans after he takes the reins from retiring Police Chief Lee Violett Dec. 18.
Telford said his 24 years of experience in the department have given him ideas and insight into the community the city could not have gotten by hiring someone from the outside.
He worked his way up from serving as a reserve officer for two years to become the department's second-highest-ranking officer before being named chief earlier this month. The San Bruno Police Department is the only law enforcement agency he has ever worked for, and he has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from San Francisco State University.
Telford lives in San Bruno with his wife, Cindy, and 14-year-old son, Anthony.
City Manager Connie Jackson said Telford's familiarity with San Bruno, along with his professionalism and competence, will make his transition into his new role a smooth one.
"I think he brings a continued stability that we have enjoyed the past seven years in the department," Mayor Larry Franzella said. "I think he will be a good chief. I've always been impressed with his follow-through and ability to listen. I always think it is a great thing if you can hire from within."
"You learn a lot from the organization over the years," Telford said.
Telford said Violett's mentoring and training courses he attended that dealt with budgets and running a police department helped prepare him to become chief. But he said he never assumed such experience would be enough to get him the job.
"I was pretty excited," Telford said of learning he had been chosen. "I never went into this process resting on my laurels and saying, 'I'm the inside person.'"
Although Telford has ideas for where he wants to take the department, he said he plans to talk to his highest-ranking officers to get some more input.
One of his ideas is to implement a mentoring program in which senior officers would have more chances to share their experiences and law enforcement expertise with newer officers.
"I want to enhance our existing personnel via training and exposure to new things," Telford said.
Another goal, expanding gang-prevention presentations, would allow more parents to be educated on how to spot signs that their children are involved in gangs, he said. Telford also envisions boosting the department's anti-gang efforts in the schools and continuing to participate in the county's anti-gang task force.
Copyright ©2006 Daily News. Published 12/08/2006.