No matter what the city or population having the right leader is key to finding success. As we usher in 2016 two local cities will have new faces running their police departments. Last December Rialto Police Chief Tony Farrar retired handing off the reigns to former Police Captain Randy Deanda. Today we learn via a Press Release that Fontana Police Chief Rodney Jones will retire effective February 5th handing off the reigns to Captain Bob Ramsey who will serve as Interim Chief of Police.
Police Chief Rodney Jones has had a ruff couple years with the creation of the Fontana Police Regional Air Support program and the rising costs of providing police services to the city of Fontana. The air support program began with Rialto, Fontana and Colton. After its creation Redlands joined in offering the services of its fixed wing aircraft. Just a few days ago news hit that cash strapped Colton would not be participating in the air support program leaving an estimated $90K that needed to be covered by the three remaining agencies, couple that with the recent tension in city council in regards to the budget and how much of that budget the Police Department used.
In the Press Release Cindy from Fontana said “it sounded like the Chief wasn’t ready to go but it was Ken Hunt’s decision”. She is right many have asked why the Press Release was framed this way? “I fully support and appreciate the decision of the City Manager,” said Chief Jones “The timing is right because there are a number of candidates in the department’s command staff that could take over leadership of this great department.”
Kathy from Fontana said that she sees through the smoke and says “it feels like Chief Jones is being fired but is being given the chance to save face and retire.”
Other sources say that City Manger Hunt was made to look bad by Mayor Warren when she asked City Manager Hunt if he was part of the air support program negotiations. Ken Hunt said that he wasn’t part of the negotiations and Mayor Warren thanked Chief Jones. Days later the Chief is announcing his retirement without city council knowledge. Sources say that this was done because there wasn’t majority approval on the council to fire the current police chief.
Chief Jones accomplishments were listed in the Press Release as:
- $12 million building expansion of the Fontana Police Department
- Implementation of the Fontana Leadership Intervention Program (FLIP) with the Fontana Unified School District
- Implementation of the Fontana Re-entry Support Team (FRST)
- Implementation of the Fontana PD Rapid Response Team (RRT)
- Jointly Implemented the Inland Valley SWAT (IVS) team with Rialto and Colton
- Developed the Fontana PD helicopter program proudly serving Rialto and Redlands
Only time will tell how much of an issue this decision will be for the clearly fractured City Council and how much input City Manager Ken Hunt will have. Lets not forget the portion of the community that wasn’t entirely happy with some of the choices that were made under Chief Jones leadership. This promises to be a wild ride of an appointment.