With more than 30 years of law enforcement experience under his belt, Larry Giannone was ready to take on a new challenge at the . After working as a patrol detective and gang enforcement officer, the San Dimas resident recently took over the helms of the Sierra Madre Police Department following .
Giannone transferred to the Sierra Madre Police Department five years ago after working in the Monterey Park Police Department for 26 years. for preparing him for the role of chief.
"The opportunity for a captain spot came up in Sierra Madre and I had always loved this community," said Giannone. "When Chief Diaz initially hired me, we had a very long talk about my future. If I was willing to be chief here, she said she would mentor me, which she of course did. She was an excellent teacher."
After finishing his first week as chief of the Sierra Madre Police Department, Giannone took time out of his schedule to discuss his new role and the department's ongoing investigations.
On his goals as chief of SMPD:
"The department is still working on the four goals that Chief Diaz was given because we still have some work to do. Those goals were to professionalize the department and to make sure people were held accountable. We're working towards more community involvement. Those are just some of the goals we're working on right now."
"In addition to Diaz's goals, it's critical that we continue to build a strong partnership with the city. That's my number one priority right now. If we build a good partnership with the community, we will in turn reduce crime and keep [Sierra Madre] one of the safest cities around to live in."
On the biggest misconceptions of the SMPD:
"Unfortunately, the Sierra Madre Police Department has the reputation of being a 'Mayberry' police department. What I don't think a lot of people realize is that there are crimes in the city that occur. The members of this department do a great job at reducing crime and prosecuting the bad guys when we catch them. This isn't 'Mayberry.'"
"Many years ago, staffing levels were different. There was maybe one officer out here. We've changed our staffing levels to keep up with the times. There are more officers out here. We are taking a stance at being a proactive department as opposed to a reactive department."
On the transition from captain to chief of SMPD:
"Everyone is getting used to seeing me in the new role. I'm ready for it. I worked diligently with Chief Diaz last year and she made sure I was prepared for it. The transition has really been pretty seamless. It's really just the employees getting used to calling me chief and not captain, but that doesn't bother me."
On the :
"We are still working with Homeland Security and providing any assistance they need with the investigation. It's an ongoing investigation."
On the :
"This time last year, we were working on the EVG fraud scam. There's still talk in the community that nothing was done. They are making headway on the case. It just hasn't been put in a box and put away. We are still investigating that and hoping to have some word out to the public in the near future with the results of that case."
On crime in Sierra Madre:
"Property crimes and residential burglaries are the most prevalent in Sierra Madre. However, residential burglaries are down considerably this year. We still find that a lot of people leave their house unsecured with their windows opened and doors unlocked. Thefts from vehicles are a secondary issue here. People are leaving GPS devices on the dashboard of their car for everyone walking down the street to see. We have a great neighborhood watch program and during those meetings we really try to reinforce what people can do to protect themselves."