It is my pleasure to welcome you to our new web site. Please take some time to review the different areas, and please send any comments or suggestions to us. I will update this message periodically to keep you abreast of department activities and issues of public concern.
For those who may not know me, I am the last working original member of the Moraga Police Department. I was sworn in as a patrol officer on December 17, 1979 and will be celebrating my 30th anniversary with the department this year. Throughout my career I have worked every departmental special assignment, and have worked my way up the organizational ladder. I was assigned the interim Chief of Police position on December 18, 2008 to replace my good friend and former Chief of Police, Mark Ruppenthal, who was also an original member of our department. I was sworn in as permanent Chief of Police on April 22, 2009. This was a very special day for me since it was also my 31st wedding anniversary, and gave me the opportunity to honor my wife Tracy for all of her support and years of adjusting to my work schedule.
On the day I became interim Chief, our department had 8 sworn officers including me. Since then, we have steadily grown to a current level of 11, and I anticipate another hiring process next month to bring us up to our current authorized strength of 12 sworn. With other agencies laying off police officers, and many police academy graduates looking for work, I am optimistic that we will find a qualified candidate that fits our organization. When we have a date set for the hiring process, we will post it on our web site, so if you know anyone who has graduated from a California POST academy and may be interested in a career with the Moraga Police Department, please tell them to complete a Town of Moraga job application, attach a resume, and submit it to our department.
I am very fortunate to be in a position to lead such a dedicated group of officers with a proven history of service to our Town. My goals for the department are simple, yet incredibly important. My first priority is to get our department to full strength and to create a work environment that encourages our people to stay here and develop skills needed to serve our community. I also intend to make promotions in July to improve our operations and to reward demonstrated ability and service. As part of the promotional process, I intend to achieve a rank structure with myself as chief, 1 lieutenant, 2 sergeants, and 8 patrol officers. This structure will allow us to provide around the clock service and should reduce the current amount of overtime we must use to meet minimum staffing requirements.
Our staffing is currently limited due to budget restraints, and we know we have more fiscal challenges ahead, but we will adjust as needed to meet community needs, just like we always have. Another goal of mine is to be as “transparent” as possible, to be achieved through public education and open dialogue into the legal mandates and operational issues that often dictate our actions. Throughout my career, I have seen certain issues that seem to resurface consistently through public comment. Issues such as overtime expenses, traffic enforcement, pay and benefits are typical items of community interest and the public deserves to be properly informed. I have also witnessed the unfortunate effect of public misinformation which seldom serves anyone’s best interests. If you have a particular police issue of concern, let me know and I’ll do my best to address it.
My last major goal for our department is to create a succession plan to ensure continuity and consistency in service for the future. I currently plan to retire in 5 years, and it is important to me to have the right personnel in place and sufficiently trained to continue providing service seamlessly. This goal will be accomplished by assessing our current personnel, and by providing the training and mentoring necessary to develop those who are qualified and want to commit to the long-term needs of our department.
Since assuming the duties of the Chief’s position, I have been overwhelmed
by the level of community support. I have often been asked what our department
needs, and my answer is simple; all we need is your trust. I promise to
do everything I can to have our department earn your trust. Together we
can continue to keep this community safe and a desirable place to live
and visit. It has been an honor to serve this community for over 29 years
and I look forward to finishing my career here as your Chief of Police.
There’s no place I’d rather be.
Robert Priebe - Chief of Police