Department History

Police Department History

The Fountain Valley Police Department was established on July 1, 1967.  At 0001 hours and under the watchful gaze of the Chief of Police, City Mayor and City Council Members, two Fountain Valley Police Officers went in-service, driving white 1967 Fords bearing the City of Fountain Valley seal.  Their new and temporary Police station was located in Fire Station 1, on Bushard Street at El Camino Avenue.

The Police Department was organized by Chief Charles Michaelis, who had also been a founding member of the Garden Grove Police Department.  Fountain Valley Police founding members included 14 Officers, 4 dispatchers and 1 records clerk.  These personnel provided police services for 19,000 residents.

Since those early days the Fountain Valley has grown to a population of approximately 55,000 with a supporting Police Department of 91 personnel, including 62 officers and 29 non-sworn employees. 

Police Department Organization 

The Fountain Valley Police Department partners with the community to promote public safety to the residents, businesses and visitors of the City. Headed by the Police Chief, the Department is organized into two divisions: the Patrol Division and the Support Services Division. Both Divisions share the responsibility for the prevention, detection and investigations of crime. 

The Patrol Division includes unformed Patrol Officers, K-9 Officers, Traffic Officers, Police Services Officers, S.W.A.T. Team Members, School Resource Officer, Community Resource Officer, Field Training Program and Senior Officer Program.

The Patrol Division consists of 30 uniformed Police Officers, 6 Sergeants and 2 Lieutenants who provide service to the community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Uniformed Patrol Officers are first responders, and as such are the City's first line of defense against the criminal element. Using a data-driven approach to crime and traffic safety, or COMPSTAT, Patrol personnel are directed to locations and at times where crime is likely to occur. By analyzing crime data and identifying emerging crime and traffic safety trends, officers are better positioned to focus crime-fighting and safety promoting efforts. 

Two K-9 Officers and their partners undergo extensive training prior to being assigned to Patrol. K-9 Officers and their partners are used to track and locate hidden suspects, apprehend fleeing felons or locate hidden firearms and narcotics.  

The Traffic Bureau consists of one Sergeant and three Motor Officers who are committed to promoting the safest and most efficient traffic flow throughout the City. Traffic Officers regularly conduct DUI check points and saturation patrols throughout the year to keep the streets safe. 

The Police Services Officers (PSOs) are non-sworn employees who assist Patrol and Traffic Officers in the field.  PSO’s duties include taking crime and traffic collision reports, traffic control, conducting CSI and issuing parking citations.  This way, PSOs free up sworn personnel to concentrate on crime fighting and traffic safety. 

The Department is a member of the West County Special Weapons And Tactics team, a regional effort serving the cities of Cypress, Los Alamitos, Westminster, Seal Beach and Fountain Valley. West County SWAT consists of Tactical Officers, Crisis Negotiators and Tactical Dispatchers. This group of specially trained and highly skilled personnel are utilized where needed to deal with high-risk incidents, such as barricaded suspects, active shooters, hostage situations and to serve high-risk search and/or arrest warrants. The goal of the Team is to resolve these incidents peacefully.

The School Resource Officer (SRO) provides a communication link between local school administrators and the Police Department.  The SRO patrols school campuses, responds when assistance is requested, conducting investigation or intervention for the youth in our community.
The Community Resource Officer (CRO) works with the local homeless population.  The CRO patrols areas where the homeless may congregate, responds to calls involving homeless persons, conducting investigation or providing intervention when needed.     
Field Training Officers provide the primary training for newly hired Officers. This intensive four month process prepares the individual to work as a solo beat Officer.
Our Senior Officer Program is designed to develop more experienced Officers for future leadership positions and to serve as supervisors in the absence of a Sergeant. 
The Support Services Division includes the Records Bureau, Dispatch Center, Detective Bureau, Crime Suppression Unit, CSI Unit, Crime Analyst, Property and Evidence Unit, Personnel and Training, and Crime Prevention. 
The Records Bureau consists of five Records Specialists, five Cadets and one Community Services Officer. These personnel are responsible for maintaining arrest records, crime reports, traffic citations and collision reports, electronically filing arrest reports for court, complying with Public Records Act requests, transmitting required crime reporting to the Department of Justice and assisting the public.
Our Dispatch Center consists of nine Dispatchers and is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Police Dispatchers are the first person one speaks to when dialing 911. We annually receive approximately 128,507 phone calls and process over 54,849 incidents. These incidents include Officer-initiated activities, responding to public requests for assistance and other activities entered into our Computer Aided Dispatch system. Dispatchers frequently provide referrals, offer solutions or educate the caller, which alleviates the need for police response.
The Detective Bureau is led by a Lieutenant and consists of General Investigations, Crime Suppression Unit, Crime Analysis, Court Liaison, Crime Scene Investigations and Property and Evidence.
General Investigations is staffed by one Sergeant, a Court Liaison and five Detectives assigned to conduct secondary investigations involving crimes against people, property crimes, fraud, or sex crimes.   The Detectives solve crimes through crime analysis, the use of crime databases, follow-up interviews and the results of CSI.  The Court Liaison assists as the communication link between the Department and Courts.    
The Crime Suppression Unit (CSU) is staffed by one Sergeant and four Detectives. CSU’s responsibilities include surveillance and tracking repeat offenders, impacting emerging crime trends such as narcotics violations, vice and gang and graffiti crimes. 
The Crime Analyst identifies emerging crime patterns and trends, conducting in-depth crime trend analysis and tracking repeat offenders that live in or frequent the city. The Crime Analyst develops intelligence information to assist Detectives in identifying crime suspects and helps police supervision identify where police resources should be focused to apprehend or thwart criminals.
The Crime Scene Investigations Technician responds to crime scenes and documents, collects and conducts forensic analysis of evidence needed to solve crimes.
The Property and Evidence Clerk maintains the integrity of approximately 5,000 pieces of new evidence each year. This evidence is used to assist in the prosecution of criminal cases. 
The Personnel and Training Sergeant is responsible for the recruitment and hiring of Department personnel; managing the extensive background investigation, polygraph, psychological and medical screening processes. The Personnel and Training Sergeant is responsible for ensuring our personnel maintain State-mandated training and supervises Crime Prevention, which includes our volunteer programs, Neighborhood Watch and Retired Senior Volunteers. 
Other volunteer programs include Police Chaplains, Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (R.A.C.E.S.) and Police Explorers. Together all of these volunteers play a vital role, providing a way for the Department to connect with the community. 
The different attributes of these Divisions are designed to complement and strengthen the capabilities of the entire Department team, as they work together to fulfill the Police Department Mission of protecting life and safe guarding property.