Q&A: Talking with Chief Dino Sgambellone

Community members and County and LANL officials stopped by a reception Monday evening in Council Chambers to welcome new Police Chief Dino Sgambellone and wish him well. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
County Administrator Harry Burgess, left, and Fire Chief Troy Hughes greet Police Chief Dino Sgambellone at Monday’s welcome reception in Council Chambers. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
Los Alamos Firefighters stopped by Council Chambers Monday evening to welcome new Police Chief Dino Sgambellone to the community. From left, Capt. Steve Saiz, Driver Eng. Colorado Cordova and Firefighter Cari Mace. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post

Dino Sgambellone became Los Alamos County’s newest police chief in November. Sgambellone, 44, is a Mansfield, Ohio native who graduated from St. Peter’s High School in 1986 and attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston where he studied piano. He spent nearly three years in the United States Air Force, began his law enforcement career and went on to earn a doctorate in public safety with a specialization in criminal justice. He served as a SWAT Team member and was chosen Officer of the Year in 1996 and Supervisor of the Year in 2007. In November 2010, he was appointed chief of police of the Mansfield Police Department. Sgambellone and his wife of 18 years, Robyn, have two children, Nick and Emily.

The Los Alamos Daily Post conducted the following Q&A Monday morning with the new chief:

Q: What attracted you most to the top law enforcement post in Los Alamos?

A: It was apparent from the beginning that is was an outstanding professional opportunity. Then, when my family was able to come back out with me, we realized that it was also a great place to live and raise a family as Los Alamos is clearly an exceptional community.

Q: It’s no secret the LAPD has been in turmoil this year and several officers have left, what’s your plan to stop more officers from leaving?

A: Each employee has to make the decision that is best for them and his or her family. My plan is simply to offer fair and consistent leadership coupled with a forward-looking vision that will hopefully result in employees choosing Los Alamos because it is a great place to work. 

Q: What is your philosophy and technique related to recruitment?

A: Hiring is one of the most important things we do. It is a clear objective to recruit and maintain the highest quality staff that we can. With a younger department, there is certainly value in recruiting tenured officers, yet we have to be mindful to balance that with non-certified applicants so they we do not have too many officers eligible to retire at the same time.

Q: We hear you’re spending one-on-one time with LAPD employees – what have you learned?

A: I’ve learned that we have an exceptional group of employees at the Los Alamos Police Department. While any organization will have some degree of challenges, it is readily apparent from speaking with each employee that we are prepared to face those challenges and work as a team to move forward in a positive direction. 

Q: Do you have any plans to restructure the department?

A: Perhaps, but I’m not acquainted enough with operations to have a clear indication yet as to what that might look like. I also have to be mindful of the budget guidance provided by Council and the County Administrator, so that process will continue to evolve as I get more acclimated to the position and with the budget.

Q: How would you sum up your first month on the job?

A: Outstanding. It is always difficult to transition to a new position. However, the people I have met both personally and professionally have been great. I am very proud to be part of this organization and community and will do my best to earn the trust and respect of those I work with and of the community as a whole.

Claudia H. Reidys of Los Alamos National Bank welcomes Police Chief Dino Sgambellone and wishes him well. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

This young community member listens intently to new Police Chief Dino Sgambellone. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

LANL’s Community Programs Office Deputy Director Carole Rutten and Los Alamos Public Schools CFO John Wolfe chat with new Police Chief Dino Sgambellone at Monday’s reception. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

County Council Vice Chair David Izraelevitz greets new Police Chief Dino Sgambellone at Monday’s reception. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Department of Public Utilities Manager John Arrowsmith greets new Police Chief Dino Sgambellone at Monday’s reception. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

County Assessor JoAnn Johnson welcomes new Police Chief Dino Sgambellone to the community at Monday’s reception. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

LAPS Superintendent Gene Schmidt chats with new Police Chief Dino Sgambellone at Monday’s reception. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Attorneys from left, Dan Gonzales, A.J. Salazar and Kathryn Thwaits attend Monday’s reception for the new police chief. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Recently retired Police Sgt. DeWayne Williams and his wife Valeria of Los Alamos National Bank chat with the County’s Leslie Bucklin at Monday’s reception. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

County Management Analyst Libby Carlsten of the Community Services Department chats with colleagues at Monday’s reception. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

A crowd lines up to welcome new Police Chief Dino Sgambellone to the community at Monday’s reception. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Fire Chief Troy Hughes speaks with Fire/Police Chaplain Jeff Eichorst at Monday’s reception. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

County Councilor Fran Berting with Johnny Martinez of LANL’s Community Programs Office at Monday’s reception. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

County Administrator Harry Burgess shares a moment with his wife Susan at Monday’s welcome reception in Council Chambers. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

County Administrator Harry Burgess introduces new Police Chief Dino Sgambellone at Monday’s welcome reception in Council Chambers. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

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