[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | SCV Native, Resident Named Santa Paula Police Chief | 07-26-2013
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
65°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 4
1867 - Harald Sandberg born in Norway; built Sandberg's Summit Hotel on the Ridge Route [story]


Chief Steven McLean

Chief Steven McLean

Steven McLean, an officer who worked his way up through the ranks of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after overcoming personal challenges, has been appointed Santa Paula’s 14th Chief of Police.

McLean, 57, a native of Canyon Country  and resident of Stevenson Ranch, was among the 25 candidates who submitted applications last September to replace Police Chief Stephen MacKinnon.

A panel of Ventura County law enforcers initially studied the resumes and recommended viable candidates to the verbal interview panel. McLean was one of two candidates then interviewed by a panel of citizens and a police union representative.

City Manager Jaime Fontes appointed McLean last week, noting in a written statement, “Mr. McLean is clearly the most qualified candidate of what was an excellent candidate pool. He has the passion and dedication Santa Paula deserves and he will take law enforcement in this city to the next level.”

McLean started July 1. His annual pay is $129,188, the top of the five-step salary tier for police chief.

McLean retired in February 2012 after 32 years of diverse public safety experience with the LASD. “I worked my way up through the ranks,” said McLean, who spent time as a deputy, sergeant and lieutenant patrolling the streets of East Los Angeles, was a longtime member of the SWAT Team, a sergeant charged with overseeing three deputy training academies and was first executive assistant to Sheriff Lee Baca and later executive assistant to Undersheriff (and Gardena Mayor) Paul Tanaka.

In all McLean spent over 18 years as a supervisor and manager, including a stint as the second in command and later Captain/Unit Commander for the City of Altadena LASD Station, where he was responsible for providing public safety services to approximately 47,000 residents. At Altadena McLean oversaw 70 sworn and professional personnel and an annual budget of $10 million dollars. In his two years as Unit Commander in Altadena, McLean was able to reduce property crimes by 25 percent and violent crimes by 17 percent.

“I always wanted to be a police chief of a small city,” said McLean. “I felt with my experience” he has much to offer the department and the community. “I’m a high-energy police chief,” McLean noted, “and I’m a police chief seven days a week.”

Not bad for a kid who flunked first grade and in high school threatened to quit if a counselor did not have him transferred to special education classes. McLean’s parents were immigrants from Costa Rica and he said he grew up in a loving home, but one nevertheless where alcohol was a problem for his father. McLean, who remembers visiting Santa Paula as a boy with family members picking fruit, said there was no interest in education in the household.

An admitted rebellious student, discriminated against by other students due to his ethnic heritage, McLean had no real interest in studies and threatened to quit high school if he wasn’t placed in special education classes, but he did love cars. One day his prank of parking his low rider to block school bus access got McLean in a lot of trouble, including with LASD Sheriff Deputy Arthur Pelino, who “gave me hell… and took an interest in me.”

McLean said the deputy sheriff – who later died in the line of duty – inspired him, and Pelino became a role model. McLean joined the LASD Explorer program and, although he graduated near the bottom of his high school class, he was determined to better himself.

McLean, who is fluent in Spanish, obtained an Associates of Science in Administration of Justice, Bachelor of Science Degree in Occupational Studies from California State University Long Beach, a Master of Science Degree in Homeland Security from Tiffin University, and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

His experiences as a youth shaped McLean’s philosophy as a police officer: “Although I came on at a time when it was ‘us against them’ mentality and there was no community policing,” McLean always believed that effective policing is a community effort. “It’s a partnership between everybody… if you live here in Santa Paula you’re a stakeholder and if you don’t want to get involved,” stand back.

McLean said, “The key to being an effective chief here is the ability to collaborate with the community, all the community” he looks forward to being involved in.

McLean was admired in Altadena for his attendance at meetings of all sizes, social events, and in general for his easy accessibility to the public as well as his staff. That included regular meetings over a cup of coffee with community members: “I’ll start that here real soon, pick an establishment and announce it. I pay for the coffee… it’s a very informal atmosphere” that promotes communication.

“As chief have you have to be out in the community seven days a week… same with the troops, I have to earn their respect, it won’t be automatic.”

With the community, “The key is to be everywhere all the time,” and he said the “wheels will still be spinning” in his head regarding Santa Paula while he’s away from the city.

But he also expects residents to do their part: “A thriving Neighborhood Watch is key” to success, neighbors taking an active part in safety by being organized, observant and ready to report any suspicious person or activity having enormous value to crime fighting and prevention.

Prevention is an important tool especially for youth. “I was an at-risk kid, and sometimes that just what kids want, one person to take an interest; a mentor can be the difference” between a life of crime or personal success.

Faith, he added, “is very important to me and I count my blessings… that’s why I feel for people when they make mistakes, I believe in second chances.”

Noted McLean, “My own childhood is why I gravitate to the underdog… I was 317th out of the 343 kids in my class when I graduated with a 1.8 GPA. I became a captain in the largest police agency, have a masters degree and became a police chief.”

He plans to offer a $500 scholarship to a graduating student in a pop classroom competition: “The winner will write the best five-page essay without knowing in advance what the topic is,” although McLean said it would center on a subject related to law enforcement.

McLean, who collects and restores old cars, was a recent visitor to Cruise Nite: “I loved it, I just sold some cars,” but he still has a 1949 Willy, a 1954 Metropolitan Nash – “It’s pink” – and a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air, “a project car.”

Cruise Nite isn’t the only reason he already enjoys Santa Paula: “It reminds me of Altadena, which still has growers, wonderful architecture, arts… I brought my wife and kids here,” daughters ages 12 and 15, “and we went to all the museums, walked Main Street and did some shopping. My wife said ‘It’s perfect for you,” and my kids were saying “Daddy, Daddy you should work here….’ I don’t have any days off… I’ll be either here or home spending quality time with the kids and my wife,” a woman so supportive that McLean said when she saw he was concerned with the officers that were working Thanksgiving she urged him to join them at the Altadena station for dinner.

McLean’s mother has lived with him since his father passed 20 years ago.

Other interests? “I’m a sports guy, grew up playing sports… Dad was a baseball coach for more than 30 years; all of us,” McLean’s five siblings, “were on his team. I’m a Lakers fan, a Viking fan have been since day one.”

McLean succeeds Sgt. Ishmael Cordero, who served as interim chief since April 2012.

 

This story originally appeared in the Santa Paula Times. Used by permission of the writer, a freelance journalist.

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

Comments are closed.

SCV NewsBreak
Loading...
Related Content
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Thursday, Sep 3, 2015
Wanted: Info on Trailer Thefts in Agua Dulce
Palmdale Station Detectives are seeking the public’s help in identifying a vehicle used in two trailer thefts from Agua Dulce Storage on Davenport Road.
Thursday, Sep 3, 2015
Six Flags to Revolutionize Revolution (Video)
The New Revolution, the beloved steel roller coaster that has thrilled more than 45 million guests in its 40-year reign at the park, will be repainted a brilliant white and blue color, while newly designed trains will be fitted with lap and calf bars and will feature red, white and blue colors with a silver eagle hood adornment. For coaster fans, the elimination of shoulder harnesses will provide a smoother, sleeker ride experience with more airtime.
Thursday, Sep 3, 2015
High Court Hears Oral Arguments in Newhall Ranch Suit
The court session lasted for more than an hour and the justices asked many questions, said John Buse, the senior counsel and legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Trump taking on the mainstream media's favoritism of the left is to be hailed. Unfortunately, Trump’s ego spirals him into orbit with no filter. One would think with his power and the circles he runs in, he’d be a bit more sophisticated. Shame on me for setting a bar for Trump. I learned long, long ago that money doesn’t translate into class.
The Disappointing Donald | Commentary by Betty Arenson
1867 - Harald Sandberg born in Norway; built Sandberg's Summit Hotel on the Ridge Route [story]
Palmdale Station Detectives are seeking the public’s help in identifying a vehicle used in two trailer thefts from Agua Dulce Storage on Davenport Road.
Wanted: Info on Trailer Thefts in Agua Dulce
Santa Clarita City Council agenda for Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015.
Council Tuesday: Lost Cyn. Bridge Widening; Bouquet Cyn. Senior Apts.
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, a local restaurant is hut down due to health code violations. Plus, September is National Suicide Prevention Month and various organizations in Santa Clarita are here to help. Click the link to see those stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Thursday, September 3, 2015
Born and brewed in Southern California since 1963, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is the oldest and largest privately-held specialty coffee and tea retailer in the United States.
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Has a New Leader
Organizers behind a statewide ballot initiative announced Thursday they have collected 109,000 signatures – or more than a quarter of the goal – in just three weeks of talking with voters across the state. It comes on the heels of a recent statewide poll showing 68 percent of California voters support the measure, according to SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, which is sponsoring the measure.
Union Touts Public Support for Its Statewide $15 Minimum Wage Initiative
The New Revolution, the beloved steel roller coaster that has thrilled more than 45 million guests in its 40-year reign at the park, will be repainted a brilliant white and blue color, while newly designed trains will be fitted with lap and calf bars and will feature red, white and blue colors with a silver eagle hood adornment. For coaster fans, the elimination of shoulder harnesses will provide a smoother, sleeker ride experience with more airtime.
Six Flags to Revolutionize Revolution (Video)
The court session lasted for more than an hour and the justices asked many questions, said John Buse, the senior counsel and legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs.
High Court Hears Oral Arguments in Newhall Ranch Suit
The sensational, genre-crossing jazz-pop orchestra Pink Martini has been added to the 2015-16 Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center season with a one-night-only performance scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8, 2016.
Pink Martini Added to COC Performing Arts Center Lineup
Wilk's Assembly bill 85 clarifies existing law so that state agencies such as the California High Speed Rail Authority will no longer be able to hold closed door meetings without public oversight.
Wilk Bill Shining Light on High-Speed Rail Authority Passed to Governor
Ryan Hughes and the Cory Tarrant Forever Young Foundation are pairing up to offer a free Motocross Safety Awareness School on Sunday, Sept. 13, form 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the MX-126 track in Piru, where Tarrant crashed and later died at age 17 in 2012.
Sept. 13: Cory Tarrant Fdn. Hosts Motocross Safety School
The Master’s College women’s soccer team scored a season-high two goals in a 3-2 loss to the NCAA D.III Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens Tuesday afternoon in Claremont.
Mustangs Women’s Soccer Falls Short Against Pomona-Pitzer
Beginning on Oct. 1, 2015, the Department of Regional Planning may accept nomination applications to designate landmarks and historic districts located in the unincorporated communities of Los Angeles County.
Starting Oct. 1: Public Can Seek Historic Status for Buildings, Districts in Non-City Areas
One of the La Cocina locations in the Santa Clarita Valley is closed after Los Angeles County Public Health officials found vermin in the Mexican restaurant.
Health Department Shuts La Cocina on Seco
Most of the published reactions to the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to cancel Cemex’s Soledad Canyon mining contracts have been nothing short of naïve. Simply put, it’s a little soon to be singing, “Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead,” while the witch still has a few flying monkeys circling over Soledad Canyon.
Cemex: Beware Flying Monkeys | Commentary by Andrew G. Fried
The City of Santa Clarita Arts & Events Office is seeking art entries for an exhibit that will feature abstract art in the First Floor Gallery at City Hall. This opportunity is for artists located in L.A. County.
Call for Artists: For Abstract Exhibit at City Hall
School’s back in for local kids, but that doesn’t mean all the fun is over. On Saturday mornings starting at 9:30, SCVi Charter School on Hasley in Castaic hosts a drum circle for kids of all ages.
SCV Entertainment Beat
An exciting season awaits The Master’s College men’s basketball team as its 2015-16 schedule has been announced.
Master’s Men’s Basketball Announces 2015-16 Season Schedule
Head Coach Les Robinson and Dr. Matthew Dixon, Director of Athletics and Physical Education at Trinity Classical Academy have successfully transitioned the Knights from 8-man to 11-man football and will host Desert Christian Academy
Trinity Knights Ready For First 11-Man Football Season
After a record-setting season that saw the Cougars clinch their second consecutive Western State Conference (WSC) title, the College of the Canyons women's volleyball team is looking to expand on that success.
Canyons Volleyball Hopes To Stay Hot After Record-Setting 2014 Season
Caltrans will portions of Antelope Valley Freeway (SR-14) from Golden State Freeway (I-5) to Sand Canyon Road as part of a pavement rehabilitation project.
SR-14 Lane Closures, Sept. 8-12
Nationwide data from NHTSA for Labor Day weekend 2014 show 38 percent of all crash fatalities involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. One in five child passenger deaths were in drunk driving crashes.
CHP Out in Force This Labor Day Weekend
Valencia: Zone 5 Public Safety and Crime Prevention Information for the Week of 08/24/2015 to 08/31/2015
Crime Blotter: Burglaries, Car Thefts in Valencia