After 34 years in law enforcement Garden Grove Police Chief Joseph Polisar plans to resign his position at the end of the year. According to a press release issued today, Polisar is credited with reducing crime rates in the city to levels "not seen since the 1960's" and for maintaining "high standards of professionalism confirmed by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies," or CALEA, during the 12 years he spent with the department since becoming chief back in 1998.
"It has been a fantastic ride here in Garden Grove," the release quotes Polisar as saying. "I have no regrets about my decision to come here in 1998. But after 34-years in law enforcement, it's time to pass the torch to someone else." Before moving to Garden Grove, Polisar worked at the Albuquerque, New Mexico police department. He attended the FBI National Academy, the FBI National Executive Institute and the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the JFK School of Government at Harvard University.
Under Polisar's tenure, Garden Grove emerged as Orange County's only law enforcement agency to retain a membership in the aforementioned CALEA, which accredits police agencies willing to submit to an audit every three years of their professional standards, something which other agencies apparently feel is unworthy. Instead, they simply follow minimal guidelines by the California Department of Justice's Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training, or POST.
As the Weekly
reported in this article
ten years ago, Garden Grove was the only city whose cops weren't sued over a massive Jan. 6, 1999 raid in Placentia where cops from more than a dozen local, state and federal agencies roughed up residents of a low-income neighborhood in their hunt for
gang members. Membership in CALEA hasn't kept Polisar's department out of the headlines, though. In June 2008, the Weekly
reported how the city's gang unit used excessive force against several members of a Latino family celebrating a birthday party after one family member, an off-duty prison guard mistaken for a gang member by a patrol officer, allegedly insulted an officer named Oomar Patel.
After being pepper-sprayed, knocked to the ground, handcuffed, hauled to jail and charged with crimes ranging from resisting arrest to "lynching," which in this context means interfering with an arrest, the Santos family saw all their charges dismissed. he city later settled a lawsuit filed by the family. And perhaps thanks to Polisar's insistence that the department maintain its accreditation with CALEA, the agency fired Patel, whose behavior, a letter to the Santos family declared, did not meet the city's "professional standards."