[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
Sunny
Sunny
59°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
May 30
2013 - Powerhouse Fire breaks out in San Francisquito Canyon; will destroy 30 homes & 28 outbuildings [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
Friday, May 29, 2015
2 Arrested in Connection with Murder, Theft from Victim
Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a man who is suspected to have overdosed on heroin, while to others were arrested in connection with the death and the theft of the victim's property.
Friday, May 29, 2015
Students’ Rocket Project Goes Awry, Sparks Brush Fire
Los Angeles County Fire officials responded to a brush fire at a Castaic Lake campground Friday afternoon.
Friday, May 29, 2015
Wilk Hosts Unclaimed Property Workshop at Senior Center
Several lined up, almost as if they were checking their lotto tickets — and for a few, there was a nice cash windfall.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
2013 - Powerhouse Fire breaks out in San Francisquito Canyon; will destroy 30 homes & 28 outbuildings [story]
Valencia High’s Chad Le Duff won his first two matches in the CIF Southern Section Individual Boys Tennis Sectionals at Cate High in Carpinteria.
SCV Sports Report: May 29, 2015
Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a man who is suspected to have overdosed on heroin, while to others were arrested in connection with the death and the theft of the victim's property.
2 Arrested in Connection with Murder, Theft from Victim
Los Angeles County supervisors recently approved an update to the rules for how often residents in unincorporated communities can host yard sales.
County Supes OK New Rules, More Days For Yard Sales
Los Angeles County Fire officials responded to a brush fire at a Castaic Lake campground Friday afternoon.
Students’ Rocket Project Goes Awry, Sparks Brush Fire
Several lined up, almost as if they were checking their lotto tickets — and for a few, there was a nice cash windfall.
Wilk Hosts Unclaimed Property Workshop at Senior Center
One of the Santa Clarita Valley’s oldest churches is welcoming the community to celebrate its 124th anniversary Sunday, officials said.
Newhall Presbyterian Church Celebrating 124th Birthday
Single Mothers Outreach announced the 2015 Empowering HeArts honorees and artists at an evening soiree held May 28 at the Sand Canyon home of Moe and Linda Hafazi.
Single Mothers Outreach Announces 2015 Empowering HeArts Honorees
The Assembly moved universal preschool in California one step closer with the passage of AB 47, the Preschool for All Act of 2015.
Preschool Bill Heading to Assembly for Vote
The writer continued with the myth that Mike Morell, former CIA deputy director, "Bush's intelligence briefer," was interviewed on the MSNBC show, “Hardball,” where he “admitted that the administration intentionally misrepresented intelligence." This slop is the antithesis of fact and truth.
Lies of Convenience
1987 - Director John Landis acquitted of charges in deaths of Vic Morrow and two child actors on Valencia set of "Twilight Zone: The Movie" [story]
Members of Santa Clarita’s Just Serve Mormon Helping Hands are set to help beautify a section of Whites Canyon Road on Sat. May 30, officials said Friday.
Volunteers to Spruce Up Whites Canyon Saturday
California Highway Patrol officers were led on an early morning car chase Thursday from West Los Angeles to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, officials said.
Police Chase Ends at Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, see how SCVi Charter School is allowing students to dive deep into American history. Click the link to see that story and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Thursday, May 28, 2015
High Speed Rail Authority officials are hosting an open house Monday for Santa Clarita.
High Speed Rail Open House Meeting Monday
The Valencia Flyers Junior A Hockey Club is excited to announce our 4th annual Showcase Event! Last years event had over 100 participants on the ice and representation from multiple NCAA Division 1 & 3 programs, ACAHA Division 1 programs, the USHL, NAHL, BCHL and several New England Prep schools. Several players received opportunities directly from this event. Now with the Flyers and the WSHL moving to Tier 2 status we anticipate even more scouts and opportunities for players! This years showcase is open to players born in 1995 through 2001.
2015 Junior A Flyers Showcase Set for July 17-19
Looking to a strong future, The Master’s College women’s volleyball team has signed Modesto, California native, Haley Taylor.
TMC Volleyball Signs Taylor
A Rosamond man arrested for kidnapping one day after he was arrested for burglary is due back in court at the end of next month for another hearing.
Kidnapping and Burglary Suspect Due Back in Court
The Master’s College women’s cross country and track & field teams bolsters its rosters with the addition of Valencia, California native, Rylee Bishop.
Bishop Signs with TMC Track and Field
A man arrested for possession of several pounds of methamphetamine skipped his court date and has a half-million-dollar bench warrant out for his arrest, officials said Thursday.
Meth Trafficking Suspect Skips Out on Court Date
Displaying excellence in the classroom as well as on the diamond, Steve Karkenny (Chatsworth, CA), Jonathan Popadics (Boise, ID), Bryce Clancy (Phoenix, AZ), and Justyn Lee (Woodland Hills, CA) have been named 2015 Baseball NAIA Scholar-Athletes.
Four Masters Ballplayers Earn Scholar Athlete Honors
The Valencia boys volleyball team lost to Mira Costa in the first round of the CIF Southern California Division 1 playoffs.
KHTS Santa Clarita Sports Report: May 28th, 2015