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College gets new police chief

Campus department changing of the guard taps longtime Glendale officer for post.

September 16, 2011|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com
  • GCC's President Dr. Dawn Lindsay has named Lt. Gary Montecuollo as the new campus police chief. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff Photographer)
GCC's President Dr. Dawn Lindsay has named Lt. Gary…

Ten months after inexplicably placing its long-time police chief on leave, Glendale Community College officials have named retiring Glendale Police Lt. Gary Montecuollo to the job.

The 53-year-old Montecuollo, who earned an associate’s degree from the college in 1987 and has taught there as an adjunct faculty member for 16 years, will be sworn in Monday. He will be responsible for eight sworn officers, a dozen student cadets and an annual department budget of $1.77 million.

“I basically think this is truly one of the best things that has ever happened to the college,” President/Supt. Dawn Lindsay said of the new chief.

The hiring brings to a close a period of uncertainty for the college Police Department that started in December when officials placed its top brass, Chief Steven P. Wagg and Capt. Nidal Kobaissi, on leave.

Lindsay has repeatedly refused to discuss the matter, stating only that Wagg has since retired and that Kobaissi left due to personnel matters.

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Facing a leadership void, college officials in March turned to the Glendale Police Department to help supervise its law enforcement operation. They also considered dissolving the campus department entirely and handing over policing responsibilities to the city’s force.

Instead, Lindsay decided to rework the job description for campus police chief, increasing the basic requirements to include a master’s degree and the rank of lieutenant.

Montecuollo, with his long history with Glendale Community College, brought those requirements and more, Lindsay said.

The new chief’s relationship with the college dates back to the 1970s, when he moved to Glendale from the Midwest to live with his aunt in an apartment adjacent to campus. After formally joining the Glendale Police Department in January 1982, Montecuollo climbed the ranks, working patrol, internal affairs, robbery/homicide, special weapons and tactics, and gangs.

“Gary has always been my go-to guy for the most sensitive projects and the most complex problems,” Glendale Police Chief Ron De Pompa said. “I consider him to be probably one of the finest ambassadors to the community that I have ever worked with.”

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