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De Pompa says goodbye, looks back on years as police chief

December 13, 2013|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com
  • Police Chief Ron De Pompa greets friends during his retirement party at DreamWorks Animation in Glendale.
Police Chief Ron De Pompa greets friends during his retirement… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

Before retiring Police Chief Ron De Pompa accepted a collegiate science scholarship 36 years ago, he made the fateful decision of agreeing to go on a police ride-along with a Glendale police officer.

That night wasn’t a typical ride-along; rather; it was filled with excitement as he witnessed a police pursuit.

“I was hooked from then on,” he said. “This is what I wanted to do.”

De Pompa eventually became a Glendale officer and rose through the ranks of his hometown police department.

PHOTOS: Retirement dinner for Police Chief Ron De Pompa

But the pivotal moment in his law enforcement career came in 2009, when De Pompa became chief of the Glendale Police Department, replacing Randy Adams.

Then, after more than three years as Glendale’s police chief, De Pompa announced his retirement last February. Still, he stayed on as chief working as an hourly employee while city officials searched for his replacement.

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Glendora Police Chief Robert Castro takes over as head of the Glendale Police Department on Monday.

As De Pompa’s 36-year law-enforcement career came to an end this week, friends, family and community members gathered Thursday at DreamWorks Animation to celebrate his retirement.

“My whole career has been pretty special in that I got to do it in my hometown,” De Pompa said, adding that he felt blessed.

Photographs of De Pompa as a teen, as an adult enjoying outdoor hobbies and at work with the police department were displayed during the celebration.

Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, prelate of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, gave the evening's invocation.

He said he has appreciated De Pompa's support for the Armenian community.

“He was a man who was very focused on his job, and his attention to the community was very much appreciated, especially by our community,” he said.

City Manager Scott Ochoa said De Pompa showed courage as he helmed the Police Department.

“It's wonderful to be able to work with a man who works a lot, works with you, but is also a humanitarian and somebody who sees the value of every member of the community regardless of their station within the community,” he said.

De Pompa’s tenure as police chief was marked with some highs and disappointments.

He oversaw major changes in the department’s operations that came after the loss of 18 sworn officer positions during the economic downturn.

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