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Inglewood Mayor James Butts with Inglewood Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks
Inglewood Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks, whose tenure has left a very positive and indelible mark on a troubled police department, will serve the citizens of Inglewood for the last time on May 25, 2012, as she departs to become the first woman police chief for The City of Santa Monica, California.
Seabrooks’ progressive set of ever more responsible and challenging professional assignments have distinguished her among African American women in America, especially among the ranks of municipal police department leadership. She came to Inglewood in 2007, after ascending to the level of Assistant Chief in Santa Monica, where she will now return as Chief.
“I have had the opportunity of knowing and working with Chief Seabrooks for over 15 years where I saw her advance from Sergeant to Captain,” said Inglewood Mayor, and former Santa Monica Police Chief James Butts. “I have seen how she has improved the credibility of the Inglewood Police Department and provided excellent leadership for a department that faced many challenges. She will be missed in the Inglewood Police Department.” He concluded.
Seabrooks’ credentials are impressive. With over 39 years of municipal policing experience, she presently provides executive leadership to over 180 sworn officers and 75 civilian employees in Inglewood’s 9.2 square mile area with over 120,000 residents. Her 25 years of cumulative experiences with the City of Santa Monica prepared her well for the challenges in Inglewood.
Seabrooks served as the commanding officer for the Offices of Criminal Investigations, Patrol Operations and Special Enforcement, in Santa Monica. She holds an MS and BS degree from CSULB and CSUDH, respectively, is a graduate of the FBI’s National Academy, and attended the Senior Management Institute for Police and the Supervisory Leadership Institute. Further, Seabrooks holds an Executive Certificate from the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST).
Soon after Seabrooks arrival in Inglewood, she became immersed in a police culture that many in the community were concerned about. A number of police involved shootings and allegations of excessive force, on the part of police officers, forced, not only local internal investigations, but also state and federal oversight and review.
During the course of Seabrooks’ leadership of the IPD, she frequently accepted invitations to address the community to explain the department’s policies and procedures with respect the use of police force. She also explained the investigative process to the community and vowed to implement any recommendations that would improve the performance of patrol officers and help restore confidence in the community.
In addition to relieving several errant police officers of their duties and shutting-down a number of dubious ‘massage parlors,’ who had operated in Inglewood for years, Seabrooks initiated a number of training opportunities for the force, which better equipped them to manage their patrol responsibilities, which resulted in an improvement in community police relations, less crime in the City of Inglewood, and an invigorated police force.
While there are many areas where Seabrooks’ leadership is evident, it is significant to note that the, under her watch, City’s crime rates have declined to levels not seen since the mid 1970’s, the Police Department’s risk management has improved across the board, and generally, the department enjoys a strong relationship with the citizens of Inglewood.
Another area where dramatic improvement has been realized is in the area of Queen Street, where the outward, visual appearance of individuals involved in gang-related activities seemed to be quite evident, has declined.
”We will never wipe-out gangs because the nature of that activity is tragic and ongoing and it impacts the community and the police department.” Seabrooks said. “I do feel that we have been able to reduce some activity with the aid of community groups and by empowering citizens to help enhance our responsiveness.”
The timing of Seabrooks’ departure comes at a time when, despite the City’s budgetary shortfalls and reduced staffing levels, the Inglewood Police Department is able to claim some responsibility for record low crime rates, a strong level of community confidence, and fortunately, no recent allegations of police misconduct. Seabrooks responded to the question about what her priorities would be if she were to remain in Inglewood.
“There can never be enough internal policing,” Seabrooks explained. “Not to suggest that anything is wrong but building internal camaraderie is important for a successful police force. In addition,” she continued, I would spend more time with individuals on the force, spend more time in the community, improve upon the homicide arrests, and letting individuals in the community understand how two-person police response is often needed to ensure the safety of the officers.”
“I am grateful to the Inglewood City Council and the Police Department for allowing me to be here and what we were able to achieve.” Seabrooks said. “I have learned a lot and grown a lot and am proud of the experiences I have had in the City of Inglewood. I certainly wish to thank the members of the Inglewood Police Department and urge them to give the next chief the support and cooperation that was given to me.”