Interim Police Chief at WISPPA Talks Future Staffing, Experience

Interim Police Chief Brian Solinsky (left), WISPPA President Bianca Richards (center), and Corporal Avick Manukian at Solinsky’s presentation to WISPPA members at the Senior Center.  Photo by Sally Kilby

Interim Police Chief Brian Solinsky is well acquainted with So Pas.

“I have grown up here,” Solinsky said recently about his 25 years with the South Pasadena Police Department (SPPD) to members of Women Involved in South Pasadena Political Action (WISSPA). Solinsky was the guest speaker at the group’s meeting on Nov. 3 at the So Pas Senior Center. Solinsky gave a 20-minute presentation to an audience of almost two dozen people. So Pas Police Corporal Avick Manukian also attended the meeting.

Solinsky, who has been interim chief since August, said he’s had just about every assignment in the department.

“I worked my way up through patrol, different supervisory levels, and then specialized in emergency management,” he said. “Then I targeted the Office of Professional Standards.” This covers grants, personnel and hiring, he said. He was promoted to detective, corporal, sergeant and captain.

“I worked as a captain for almost the entire time Chief Miller was here,” he said. He was referring to Art Miller, the city’s former police chief who left in August after five years to take a similar job in Arizona.

“For all of the programs that Chief Miller put into place,” Solinsky said in an interview prior to his presentation, “I had direct knowledge by working on those projects or from implementing them.” Examples are Coffee with a Cop and women’s self-defense training, he said.

“The transition was seamless,” he said.

Meanwhile, Solinsky has created a number of committees to address specific issues. “I started one to address strategic planning,” he said. “We want to look at where we want to be in three to five years.”

Next, he wants to prepare the next generation of leaders.

“We have a lot of people getting ready to retire,” he said. “Who will take their place?” To address this, he created a committee for succession planning.

Solinsky has also established an information technology committee.

“A major update is needed to the Police Department’s computer dispatch system,” he said. “We bought ours in the early 1990s and haven’t updated since.” The cost to purchase a paperless system is between $700,000 and $1 million, he said.

Solinsky is also responding to the community’s concern with traffic.

“I get six to seven emails a day from people requesting extra traffic patrol,” he said.

Currently the department has two motorcycle officers. He is replacing one officer who is retiring.

“With rescheduling,” he said, “we can have a third motor officer.” He is also part of a city multi-department neighborhood traffic-calming committee. This group is examining specific neighborhoods to see how to address traffic, he said, “not just in the short term but long term.”

In addition, Solinsky said an officer has just been assigned to the Foothill Air Support Team. This partnership of 10 cities with the City of Pasadena provides airborne law enforcement.

“The benefit to South Pas is that we use the helicopter partnership pretty regularly, and it provides extra patrol for the city,” he said. “It’s a lot different when looking for a suspicious person to see the city from a birds-eye view and see the city as a whole.” Even better, he said, the city is reimbursed for the officer’s time through the contract with Pasadena.

Solinsky is a second-generation law enforcement officer. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice and is working on a master’s degree.