Chief Susan Sloan, the first female chief of University Police at California State University, Dominguez Hills, retired this month. Along with a celebration of her 22 years on campus, the swearing-in ceremony of new police chief Carlos Velez was held in the Loker Student Union on June 22.
Sloan began her career at CSU Dominguez Hills in 1989 after more than three years as a deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. She worked up the ranks on campus through detective, sergeant, lieutenant, and captain. Upon being named the first female chief of the university in 2004, she took command of a staff of 41 officers, dispatch, parking, and administrative personnel.
At last week’s event, Mary Ann Rodriguez, vice president of finance and administration, recalled highlights of Sloan’s career, including the chief’s oversight of upgrades to the 9-1-1 emergency system, implementing new parking machines, and improving and adding parking lots. She also underscored Sloan’s part in managing a number of high-impact incidents on campus, including earthquakes, fires, floods, and the reaction to an alleged shooter —who proved to be a false alarm—on campus. Rodriguez commended the retiring chief’s ability to work in collaboration with other campus entities.
“Community relations have always been important to Chief Sloan, specifically networking with administration, faculty, staff, and students,” said Rodriguez.
Janie Macharg, director of Student Health and Psychological Services, also had high marks for her departing colleague’s achievements.
“The jobs of Student Health and Psychological Services and University Police frequently cross paths,” she said. “And we need to work closely together to deal particularly with issues involving students of concern and issues of concern regarding faculty and staff. These relationships have been based on enormous trust and respect for each other and that enables us to do our jobs well. I value Susan so much… we [worked] well together and I look forward to continuing to that relationship with Chief Velez.”
Nate Johnson, chief enforcement officer for the CSU, wished his retiring colleague well and described some of her best qualities as a police chief.
“I’ve never known somebody who is so genuine and has such a big heart as Susan does,” he said. “Susan just has a way of lightening the mood and bringing laughter to the room and really getting people to work together.”
Johnson presided over the swearing-in of Chief Velez, whose most recent position was as a lieutenant with the Robbery-Homicide Division of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) for 11 years. As officer-in-charge of the robbery section, he led investigations on cases involving major robberies, banks and armored cars, as well as cases of ransom kidnapping and human trafficking.
During his LAPD career of more than 32 years, Velez has served as an officer, detective, sergeant, and lieutenant. He earned his bachelor of science degree in criminal justice at CSU Los Angeles in 1993, and his master of public administration degree at CSU Northridge in 1996. His other credentials include Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) certification by the state of California; completion of the West Point Leadership Program, in which he served as an instructor; and speaking as an expert on abduction at the Southern California Kidnap Conference. Velez has also been designated as a terrorism liaison officer within the LAPD and has served as a panelist on programs produced by the Justice Television Network. The Los Angeles native currently lives in Downey with his wife Teresa and teenage sons Tony and Jose.
Sloan, who officially retired last December, worked through the spring semester during the search for her replacement. She handed over the reins to Chief Velez, commending not only her staff but the entire campus community for pitching in when the department had a situation.
“I can tell Chief Velez the one thing about this department is that whenever something happens you can always depend on everybody coming together and taking care of whatever needs to get done to a very successful conclusion,” she said. “You really have to depend on people to want to pitch in and do things and I just want to thank everybody here… for always going above and beyond to accomplish whatever it is we need to get done.”
Sloan said that she “felt very honored to be a part of the group of police chiefs for the CSU system.”
“I’ve always loved working at Dominguez Hills,” she said. “And it was because of all the wonderful people. And the other good thing about being on this campus [is that] we don’t just go handle a call for service; you’ve got a victim or a situation, you get very involved in it because you have to kind of help that victim through life, you have to help that victim repair and survive that situation. That’s a very positive thing working in a small agency like this.”
Chief Velez will oversee the safety and security needs of the campus, which include command of police, parking enforcement, dispatch services, and rideshare. He thanked his family, who was present at his swearing-in ceremony, as well as members of the CSU Dominguez selection committee and the campus police department for their support during the selection process for his new position.
“This is a tremendous honor and I’m looking forward to working with campus administration and the men and women of the Police and Parking Services to ensure a safe campus for students, faculty, and visitors,” he said.