The City of Poway announced that Captain Todd Richardson will take over command at the San Diego Sheriff’s Poway Station beginning Friday, October 28.
Captain Richardson started with the Sheriff’s department in 1988 and has held a wide range of assignments, including: detentions, field assignments, investigations, community policing, emergency services and rural command. He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice management and attended the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Virginia, in 2015.
“We value our relationship with the Sheriff’s Department to keep our community safe,” City Manager Tina White said. “Captain Richardson’s education and experience is impressive, but just as important as his resume is his genuine interest in serving the Poway community. We believe he will be a great fit to lead our Poway Sheriff’s station.”
Captain Richardson has received a number of awards and honors for his work over the years, including the Sheriff’s Certificate of Commendation (2012) for developing and implementing the Sheriff's prescription drug drop box program and the Sheriff’s Medal of Merit (2007) for his management of more than $10 million in Homeland Security Grants. In 2000, he received multiple commendations for his investigative efforts on one of the county's largest commercial burglary rings and subsequent recovery in stolen property. He was awarded the San Diego Crime Commission’s Officer of the Year “Blue Knight Award,” a United States congressional commendation and a citation from the National Sheriff’s Association.
Q&A with the Captain
1. What interested you in the opportunity to become Captain of the Poway Sheriff’s station?
I lived in Poway for several years when I first moved to San Diego County and began my career with the Sheriff's Department. Over the years I have worked many extra assignments and operations from the Poway Station and have always wanted to return and command the station. Poway is a gem among our stations and I look forward to reacquainting myself with the city and getting to know the community members.
2. What prompted you to go into law enforcement?
Law enforcement was something I wanted to do from an early age. The job interested me because it is a very dynamic and challenging career. If you are adaptable to that sort of work environment, then it is an extremely rewarding career.
3. You’ve had the opportunity to work in a variety of departments and locations with the Sheriff’s department. What one or two assignments had the biggest impact on how you view law enforcement and why?
I've had a wide-variety of assignments over the years in detentions, various field assignments, investigations, community oriented policing, emergency services, and rural command. Each of the assignments have been rewarding as I learned a great deal from each one and was able to utilize the new knowledge in my subsequent positions. I've also had the pleasure of working with a lot of very knowledgeable and talented people.
If I had to choose one or two of my "favorite" assignments, I would probably identify working in our Emergency Services Division as the Unit Commander for the ASTREA aerial program, as well as my assignment to the Emergency Planning Detail. Both of these positions enabled me to participate in the countywide efforts for disaster response planning. While in these positions I was able to plan for, and respond to, various disasters impacting our local communities. I especially enjoyed the cooperative relationships that I developed with numerous community based organizations to better meet the needs of our communities.
4. You owned a business before heading into law enforcement. How was the transition into public service? Any “lessons learned” that you’ve carried with you throughout your career?
I owned a small- to medium-sized commercial printing business for about ten years. Owning a business taught me a lot about management, supervision, budget and what it means to work hard to make a dollar. The transition to law enforcement was pretty seamless as I attended a very thorough law enforcement academy which prepared me well.
The greatest lesson learned that still seems to be applicable today is how essential communication is for successful operations and that we can always improve on communication.
5. Poway was recently named one of the safest cities in California (and the safest city in San Diego County). How does this distinction make providing law enforcement easier or harder?
The bar is already set high! Captain Maxin has done an excellent job over the last few years of managing the station and developing relationships with the city and community members. The Poway Sheriff's Station has a great team of sworn and professional staff personnel and each one of them take great pride in their role in keeping the Poway community safe. I plan to continue to build relationships and work closely with the city and community groups to improve on what's been built already, and, to make Poway and the surrounding communities the safest in the County.
6. In a nutshell, what does a Station Captain do?
In many ways, the role of the Station Captain is not much different than what you would find a manager or owner of a business doing: overseeing day-to-day operations, managing personnel resources and customer service issues, budget, equipment, fleet maintenance, training, etc.
Probably the biggest difference is that as a business owner you may be producing a specific product or widgets and certainly the primary goal is to make a profit. In law enforcement, our product is safety and how we provide that service. Just like in any business, customer service is a critical component.
For example, sometimes our customers may not be too happy about getting contacted by law enforcement – from a burglar to someone stopped for a traffic violation like speeding – but we should be able to provide professional customer service and an explanation that helps them to understand why we have to do what we do.
Further, how we provide that service is often impacted by the exigency of the call or emergency that we are responding to. In that regard, customer service and communication is even more critical. My job is to make sure that all those things are happening and that resources are being used properly and communications are done effectively.
7. Fill in the blank: When I’m not at work, you can find me_____.
You would probably find me doing some type of outdoor activity with my family, especially water activities. My family is the most important to me. If I could do my job from on the water, that's where I would be. It's probably best that my computer and my cell phone are not waterproof.