[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
Clear
Clear
57°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
February 11
1970 - Groundbreaking of County Civic Center in Valencia [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.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
Loading...
Related Content
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016
Ex-Sheriff Baca Pleads Guilty to Obstruction Charges
Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca pleaded guilty Wednesday to lying to federal investigators during a probe of the county's jail system.
Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016
Man Robs U.S. Bank in Valencia
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station is searching for a suspect involved in a bank robbery Wednesday morning.
Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016
Agua Dulce Man Pleads Not Guilty to Vehicular Manslaughter
An Agua Dulce man has been charged with vehicular manslaughter after an alleged solo DUI crash in which his friend was killed and two others were injured, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Does the Valencia Water Co. Shareholders Commitee have so little concern for the taxpayers’ money they are supposed to be overseeing? Do they not think a $73 million investment needs oversight? Or are they hiding something from the public?
$200 to Pass Go | Commentary by Lynne Plambeck
Executive Director Rachelle Dardeau is leaving the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center after nearly four and a half years of serving the local growing senior community, officials said Wednesday.
Top Exec Dardeau Leaving as Senior Center Plans to Expand Role
1970 - Groundbreaking of County Civic Center in Valencia [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca pleaded guilty to corruption charges, the Santa Clarita City Council approved a move that will accelerate a plan for Old Town Newhall and the SR-126 bridge construction is quickly approaching completion.
SCV NewsBreak for Wednesday, February 10, 2016
The Circle of Hope Inc. Board of Directors has regretfully accepted the resignation of Executive Director Ray Tippet. As of July 1, Tippet will consider himself "retired" and plans to spend his newfound time with family, friends, and do some traveling.
Circle of Hope’s Tippet Announces Retirement
After Santa Clarita Valley records by Austin O'Neil (3K), Shannon Murakami (5-mile and 5K road) and Ashley Heys (HS 5-mile), we thought we'd look at some of the other records that could potentially be broken this year.
XC: Ten SCV Records That Could Fall In 2016
The 43rd Annual Annie Awards, the biggest honors in animation, ere held Saturday, and Disney-Pixar’s “Inside Out" by Pete Docter (CalArts '90) was the big winner. And that's not all, folks.
CalArtians Win Top Animation Awards
The Master’s College golf team kicked off its spring schedule by placing fifth out of a field of 15 teams after carding a collective score of 910 (307-305-298) at the CSUSM Fujikura Invitational.
Mustang Golf Starts Off Spring Slate
Matt Janes drove in a career-high four runs and two teammates added three rbi apiece as The Master's College walloped Claremont 19-7 Tuesday afternoon in the San Gabriel Valley.
Janes Leads Mustangs Past Claremont
The Master’s College women’s basketball team improved its record to 21-3 (11-1 GSAC) after beating Biola University 68-53 at Chase Gym in La Mirada.
Lady Mustangs Run Past Eagles For 21st Victory
Reid Shackelford scored a game-high 31 points and it still wasn't enough as tenth-ranked Biola scored the game's first six points and forged a 20-point lead in the first half en route to an 83-70 win over The Master's College Tuesday evening.
Biola Routs Mustangs in 13-Point Win
Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca pleaded guilty Wednesday to lying to federal investigators during a probe of the county's jail system.
Ex-Sheriff Baca Pleads Guilty to Obstruction Charges
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station is searching for a suspect involved in a bank robbery Wednesday morning.
Man Robs U.S. Bank in Valencia
From family movie nights to fitness classes, there’s something for all ages at the Canyon Country Community Center in February and March.
Fun Family Offerings at CC Community Center
An Agua Dulce man has been charged with vehicular manslaughter after an alleged solo DUI crash in which his friend was killed and two others were injured, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Agua Dulce Man Pleads Not Guilty to Vehicular Manslaughter
The College of the Canyons baseball team in still undefeated, after an 8-3 win over Rio Hondo College in Tuesday's 'Home Opener' to cap a two-game sweep of the Roadrunners.
COC Downs Rio Hondo in Home Opener 8-3
Deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station are currently searching for an individual in the Canyon Country area who deputies say has a warrant out for his arrest.
Deputies in Search of Individual in Canyon Country
If passed, AB 1866 would give voters the chance in November 2016 to terminate the Bullet Train and repurpose up to $8 billion to water programs including desal, wastewater treatments and recycling facilities, reservoirs, water conveyance infrastructure and aquifer recharge.
Wilk Bill to Ballotize Swap of Train Funds for Water
On the last week of January, Junior High and High Schools all across Santa Clarita participated in the city’s Drug Free Youth in Town X-Week event.
SCV Schools Participate in DFYIT Program
Single Mothers Outreach has announced that DaAnne Smith, executive director of SMO, has decided to retire in June and join the board of directors, starting an orderly leadership transition over the next four months.
Executive Director of Single Moms’ Charity to Retire
As the first exhibition of the spring 2016 semester, the College of the Canyons Art Gallery will present “Art-Work: Selections from the Visual Arts Faculty” beginning Tuesday, Feb. 16.
COC Art Gallery Presents Faculty Members’ Work
At the Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich presents “Henry,” a 5-year old Miniature Pinscher ready to be adopted.
Antonovich Pet of the Week (2-10-2016): Henry
Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced he received a 100 percent voting record from the National Federation of Independent Business for his efforts to protect and promote small business in 2015.
Wilk Gets Perfect Score for Small Business Voting Record
As a tune-up for an upcoming student soaring day, the Southern California Soaring Academy is bringing a glider to SCVi Charter School to give students who are studying aerodynamics an up close and personal look at the flying machine.
SCVi To Host Glider for Aerodynamics Students
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has offered a $20,000 reward in exchange for information leading to, locating, or apprehending a registered sex offender.
County Supes Offer 20K Reward for Sex Offender
Canyon Springs Elementary School has announced significant improvement in student scores under the No Child Left Behind program and will celebrate at their board meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 10.
Canyon Springs Elementary to Celebrate Higher Scores
Together with Jackie and Gene Autry, Founding President Joanne Hale (1928-1916) and her husband Monte (1919–2009) were instrumental in the creation, planning, construction, and continued growth of the Autry Museum.
Autry Museum Announces Death of Founding President
Update from Rep. Steve Knight's 25th Congressional District.
Knight Watch: Aeronautics, Gas Leaks, more
2013 - Motion picture helicopter provider David Gibbs of Valencia and two others are killed in crash at Acton movie ranch; Hollywood's deadliest on-set incident since triple-fatal "Twilight Zone Movie" helicopter crash in Valencia in 1982 [report]
The Santa Clarita City Council voted 3-1 Tuesday night to move forward with the development of a three-part project in Old Town Newhall including a Laemmle art-house movie theater, a mixed-use apartment and retail building by Serrano Development Group, and a city-owned public parking structure.
Council OK’s Laemmle Theatre, Lofts, Parking Structure