From officer to respected leader, Chief Guttierez of the CSUSB PD firmly believes, “Engagement is the bridge, built by mutual understanding and respect, that spans the gap between the institution and community”.
Newly appointed Chief John Guttierez leads the CSUSB Police Department into a shining era of policing focused on community engagement and outreach to create a safer community. Chief Guttierez was appointed as Chief of the CSUSB Police Department in April of 2023 due to his distinguished 32 years of dedicated service and his deep connection to the community. His journey into educational-based policing was born from a profound desire to make a positive impact on the very system that shapes the leaders of tomorrow. From his years at the Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD) to now, Chief Guttierez has always sought to change the profession for the better. At the LASPD, Guttierez was a strong advocate for and was successful in significantly reducing the number of truancy tickets given to struggling youth because he understood that everyone’s life has struggles and that many students are doing the best they can. This determination paved the way for Guttierez to become a beacon of community-oriented policing, emphasizing trust, transparency, and engagement as the cornerstone of CSUSB’s campus safety strategy. Beyond his role as Chief, Guttierez is also a devoted husband and father, embodying the values of responsibility and integrity that he brings to his profession. His personal commitment to family mirrors his professional dedication to nurturing a safe and inclusive environment for every member of the CSUSB community.
Chief Guttierez strongly emphasizes that community engagement enhances the educational experience. “When students see officers actively involved in campus life, it sends a powerful message. It says we’re invested in your success, not just as officers, but as fellow members of this community.” Beyond the campus borders, this outreach extends to the broader San Bernardino community. Through partnerships with local organizations, outreach programs, and educational initiatives, the CSUSB Police Department contributes to the upliftment and betterment of the entire area. This collaborative approach underscores that safety isn’t a solo endeavor, but rather a collective responsibility. The benefits of robust community engagement ripple through the campus and beyond. It creates an environment where trust and cooperation thrive. Students, faculty, and staff are more likely to collaborate with the police department by reporting concerns or participating in safety initiatives. Chief Guttierez’s vision for the CSUSB Police Department hinges on the fundamental belief that community engagement is not just another duty, but rather a cornerstone of effective policing. He emphasizes that a police force deeply integrated into the fabric of the community it serves is better equipped to understand the unique needs, challenges, and aspirations of that community and its members.
The CSUSB campus is more than just a collection of academic buildings; it’s an ecosystem of diverse backgrounds, cultures, and ambitions. It’s a place where students from all walks of life converge to pursue their passions and cultivate lifelong connections. For Chief Guttierez, this diversity is a source of strength that must be celebrated and protected. Chief Guttierez is a firm believer that diversity gives us a multitude of unique perspectives that allow us to respond to any situation appropriately. The diverse nature of the CSUSB police force allows them to accurately respond to the needs of this diverse campus. With an approach that focuses on community engagement and diversity, Chief Guttierez, along with the brave men and women at the CSUSB PD, works to foster an environment where everyone feels seen, understood, respected, and protected.
In the following audio clip, Chief Guttierez details his belief that high-quality service stems from genuine care and connection to the community.
“We want officers who are cutting edge, who are critical thinkers, and they’re able to evolve with the times and be able to adapt. They are able to embrace the various different communities that we have on campus. Whether it’s our infinity groups, whether it’s our LGBTQ community, whether it’s our African American, or Latinx community. Whatever it is, they’re able to adjust because we just see people and we let the service drive our work because we care about the people we serve”.
Transparency is the cornerstone of a trustworthy and effective police force, and Chief Guttierez understands this principle intimately. He recognizes that in order to build a strong and enduring relationship with the community, there must be a commitment to openness and honesty from the police. One way that the CSUSB PD maintains transparency and integrity in their work is through their website which allows citizens to see active calls and incidents that the police are responding to. Guttierez stated, “We are not trying to arm wrestle our community. We’re trying to partner with our community and strengthen our community. By maintaining transparency we show the campus that we can be trusted which makes the campus safer”.
In an era where community and law enforcement relations are often strained, Chief Guttierez serves as a beacon of hope and an embodiment of the transformative power of dedicated service. As the CSUSB Police Department continues to flourish under his guidance, it does so with a resounding message: safety is a collective endeavor, and every voice in the community matters. Chief Guttierez’s vision ensures that CSUSB remains a place where everyone feels not only protected but also valued, respected, and heard. Chief Guttierez’s legacy will be a testament to the profound impact that one person’s dedication to community engagement can have, leaving an everlasting mark on the CSUSB campus and the surrounding neighborhoods.