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VIDEO: Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Chief Scott Seaman

Q&A reveals department has 41 officers and 18 civilian staff who help Chief Seaman provide police services to two communities with relatively low crime rates.

Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police Chief Scott Seaman grew up in the Los Altos-Cupertino area. He graduated from Homestead High School and earned his bachelor's degree in criminology from the University of California-Berkeley.

He began his career with the San Jose Police Department in August 1975. He worked a large number of assignments there, including patrol, investigations, community work, narcotics, sexual assault unit, street crimes unit and personnel. As a pilot, he also flew the department's plane on collateral assignments. 

Seaman received specialized training through the FBI National Academy, a 10-week program for law enforcement and the California Command College, a two-year program, which contributed toward a master's degree in management. In 2002, after a 27-year career with the SJPD, he became aware of an opening in Los Gatos. He got the job as the town's top cop, and on July 1, 2002, was sworn in as the .

"When I saw the Los Gatos police chief position, I thought that this would be the perfect setting for my style of policing and blend of skills," he said. "I was deeply honored when I was selected and continue to consider this position an honor to serve the residents of Los Gatos and Monte Sereno." 

The 57-year-old chief serves on the executive board of the California Police Chiefs Association and will be the president of the state association in March 2012. He also serves on the board of the YMCA of Silicon Valley and is a member of Rotary. He's been married for almost 30 years and has two adult children: a son, age 27; and a daughter, age 25. His hobbies include woodworking, fly fishing, traveling, cooking and flying.

Los Gatos Patch: How long have you been in law enforcement?

Chief Seaman: 35 years.

Patch: Describe the services you provide for the.

Chief Seaman: We have an unusual relationship as a police department in that we do provide services to two communities. We provide services to Los Gatos as our original structure, and 15 years ago we made a contract with the community of Monte Sereno to provide services for them. Between those two communities, there are 33,000 residents. 

Patch: How many officers are under you, and what do they do?

Chief Seaman: We have 41 officers and 18 civilian staff who provide a full range of services to both communities. We do all manner of response to crimes. We handle our own , receiving calls across 911, dispatching officers to all manner of calls, and we provide a full range of investigations. In fact, we investigate cases that probably many other agencies don't take the time or have the time to investigate. We also do community relations work. We process all of our own property and evidence and perform traffic enforcement services for the community with two motorcycle officers [and] a and [we] provide a lot of volunteer support for the community.

Patch: How many police volunteers?

Chief Seaman: We have about 60 police volunteers who go out on patrol but also do specialized programs, including some of our more creative community outreach programs.

Patch: What is the department's vision?

Chief Seaman: We do three things. We're building a highly competent, professional police department providing traditional law enforcement services. We're building community relationships and engaging in community problem solving. We have an ultimate goal, which is a larger-than-life goal, and that is to know everyone in our community ... We've come to know many of them already through our day-to-day work, and we're putting in place programs and practices that cause us to meet people all the time. Some of those are inculcating a culture of accessibility for the department to have them—officers and civilian personnel—realize that it is our responsibility to go out and connect with the community on a very purposeful way and to be approachable when people come and need services from us.  

Patch: Is that what your neighborhood outreach program is about?

Chief Seaman: Yes, it's one example. We started it three years ago for new residents. We work with the Realtors and the title companies to find out who has bought a house in town, and within about 30 to 45 days of that person closing escrow and moving in, one of our uniformed volunteers goes out with a welcome packet and personally welcomes them to the community and explains to them the services that we provide and contact information. The benefit of that is that people will come to know our services and come to appreciate the quality and level of service that we provide.

Patch: You've built a good reputation in the solving of difficult cases. How did you do that?

Chief Seaman: The level of investigation and the quality of our work is evidenced by the continued pursuit of professionalism. We have solved major cases. The recent cases we've been involved with have demonstrated our willingness to commit resources, but also to put in the time and the effort necessary to bring those cases to a successful conclusion. Our residents find that we both pay attention to levels of crime that other departments may not. We have won the California Investigative Excellence Award. In addition, the Mark Achilli homicide investigation was honored as one of the top 15 investigations considered for international recognition by the International Association of Chiefs of Police last year. It's the best example of a major investigation that demonstrates the success of the department in a challenging investigative case where we asked other agencies to help us, and it resulted a swift apprehension of five people responsible for Mr. Achilli's murder.

Patch: Describe the work of the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Foundation.

Chief Seaman: It's a volunteer board of directors who have raised a significant amount of funds each year through community donors and who put on a Taste of Los Gatos event each year, which is a wine and restaurant tasting that's well attended and going into its fourth year in August. That hallmark event and other activities have each year brought about $60,000 to the police department to fund important community programs, such as the ice cream coupon we give out to kids who wear their helmets to the barbecue we do for Fisher Middle School students and other community programs we provide. Since its inception 10 years ago, our foundation has completely funded our canine program. This year, the foundation funded the purchase of our newest canine, , providing for all of his training. The Builders Club of Fisher Middle School and two members of our community have collected donations or make personal donations to fund a protective vest for Berko and to pay for additional specialized training. If anyone is interested in supporting the police foundation, they can look at the website lgmspolicefoundation.com.

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