(TNS) - In the same week in 1994, the Redlands Police Department hired a crime analyst from Bloomington and a police officer who grew up in Redlands.
Twenty-four years later, Chief Chris Catren and Assistant Chief Travis Martinez are leading the department into the future.
“The overall vision is really to provide the best level of service and safety that we can to the community,” Catren said. “Our goal is to get out there and be with the community, so there’s a seamless relationship between the people we serve and the people who are serving them.”
Catren and Martinez, both 45, officially took on their new roles Feb. 1 after serving in an interim basis following the December announcement of former police Chief Mark Garcia’s retirement.
Catren quickly settled into his new role, and already has taken steps he says are meant to improve transparency with the public, one of his goals as chief. Recently, the department started posting its police activity logs to Facebook and upped its social media presence.
“It’s a matter of reprioritization,” Catren said. “We’re going to prioritize that transparency and communication with our community just to make sure that people are in the know, and so they feel free to ask us questions too. If we start the dialogue the anticipation is people will talk back.”
With only 84 funded positions, the department does rely on the public to be its eyes and ears, according to Martinez.
“We’ve very successfully over the years solved some major investigations, more often than not it’s because of our partnership with the community,” he added. “We’re always trying to promote and foster that police legitimacy and we want to certainly continue to do that, if not do it even more so.”
In their 24 years working for the Redlands Police Department, Catren and Martinez have served in numerous roles.
Catren, who moved to Redlands 18 years ago, most recently served as a police commander, heading department operations, including several evidence-based policing initiatives.
Moving into the department’s top leadership position is “the ultimate opportunity” in his career, said Catren, who is married with three sons.
“From Day One I wanted to be the police chief in Redlands,” he added, “so it’s an incredible honor to have actually gotten to this point. There’s so many good people that have come and gone from this department who can fill this chair. … I wasn’t born here, but I feel like the community adopted me after I got here. It’s such an easy place to get involved and meet people and really get woven into the fabric of this community.”
Martinez, a lifelong Redlander who is married with two sons and one daughter, had recently been promoted to commander prior to being named assistant chief. He developed the department’s GPS Tracker Program and helped run its community policing programs.
In his new position, Martinez said, he looks forward to building on those programs.
“I look forward to the challenges and for new ways to mesh with the community and keep those partnerships going,” he added. “(Catren and I) both have friends and family that live here. We want to make this community even a better place to live.”
The two worked on cases together several years ago as detectives, and already know one another well, Catren said.
“Travis trusts me and I trust Travis, so there aren’t any surprises between the two of us,” he added.
That trust helps with the division of duties between the chief and assistant chief. While Catren serves as the face of RPD and works with other city leaders, Martinez will oversee day-to-day operations department.
“I think our basic philosophy of policing is pretty much in line with each other,” Martinez said. “There’s not a big difference there, which I think makes working together much easier.”
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