Police Chief Rob Webb promises zero tolerance and positive attitude
■ Kyle Selby / Reporter
Former Deputy Police Chief Charles “Rob” Webb was officially sworn in as Chief of Police of the Hemet Police Department Tuesday evening, Jan. 23.
“Tonight, I have the honor and the privilege of administering the oath of office to our 17th police chief in the 108 year history of the Hemet Police Department,” Hemet Mayor Michael Perciful introduced.
Law enforcement authorities from Hemet and the surrounding area crowded the City Council Chambers for the ceremony, with the likes of retired Hemet Police Chief Richard Dana, Murrieta Police Chief Sean Hadden, and Captain Leonard Purvis of the Riverside Sheriff’s Department, among others. Former Hemet Police Chief Dave Brown, who retired from the position just last month, kept a low profile as he watched his successor assume the mantle. Webb, 49, began his law enforcement career with the San Diego Harbor Police Department but eventually moved his family to the San Jacinto Valley in 1991 to work for the Hemet Police Department as a patrol officer. There, he became a member of the department’s first gang enforcement unit and also supervised the department’s special enforcement team.
Webb has been recognized numerous times as a gang expert in Riverside Superior Court. Webb has commanded all three bureaus of the Hemet department, and has served as Deputy Chief for the past five years. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Southern Illinois University, and his Master’s Degree from Azusa Pacific University. He’s also a graduate of the California Command College for Police Executives.
While not mentioned during the ceremony, Webb had recently been named in a controversial wrongful death lawsuit, which caused the city to spend over $600,000 in legal and settlement fees, ultimately resolving Webb’s involvement.
Bridgett Webb, Webb’s wife, pinned his badge Tuesday night, before he was officially sworn in as Hemet’s 17th police chief.
Past Hemet mayors including Marc Searl, Lori Van Arsdale, Robin Lowe, Bonnie Wright, and Linda Krupa, as well as the rest of the current Hemet City Council were invited by Perciful to the front of the room after the oath.
“They’ve all been Mayor while you’ve been here at the department, and they’ve all known you for a long time, so I thought that rather fitting,” explained Perciful. “Promoting a [police] chief from within shows a sign that our organization is very healthy and that we want to continue to grow the city of Hemet Police Department and I have full faith that you will continue to lead this organization to do great things in the future.” Each of the former mayors spent the next couple minutes speaking briefly, and fondly of Webb.
After thanking the public and his many peers in the crowd, Webb addressed his plans amid the changing of the guard.
“Just to be clear, tonight’s not about me, it’s about our department. Our department moving forward, and moving into the next chapter,” said Webb. He began with how he plans to follow Dave Brown’s lead. “Chief Brown and I are much different people, so we’re going to handle things probably a little bit differently in certain circumstances, but to be honest with you, we are right in the middle of a five-year strategic plan, so we’re on the right track.”
Webb stated that he wants to make sure that the department is run positively and efficiently, while also increasing service levels, and motivating his employees.
“I just want everybody to know that Hemet PD is going to be a positive force in this community, and we’re going to move forward in a real positive manner,” Webb said. “We’re not going to have a bunch of lawlessness going around by any means; it’s going to be zero tolerance on many of our crimes that we’re having on a daily basis. But we’re going to make sure we do it in a positive way.”