Hemet Police Department’s Deputy Chief Charles Webb who has been with the department for 25 years will become the new police chief, Dec. 22, replacing former Police Chief David Brown who has announced his intent to run for Riverside County Sheriff.
Webb, 49, has worked a variety of assignments including patrol, field training officer, crime suppression unit, patrol supervisor, crime suppression unit, patrol supervisor, investigations supervisor and investigations lieutenant. After being promoted to captain in 2006, he served as the Region 3 Gang Taskforce chairman.
His long and dedicated experience quickly earned his appointment to the new chief’s role by the Hemet City Council over a list of other candidates applying for the position.
“I am honored and very excited about being appointed as the next Hemet Police chief,” Webb said. “With the support of the community and the passage of Measure U, we have been given the mandate to rebuild our department to an appropriate level for a city of 82,000 plus residents and an ever-changing demographic.”
He plans to continue his predecessor’s hiring success.
“We have had success in hiring police officers, and now we are finally staffed at level where I believe we can really start to make a positive difference in our community,” Webb said. “At one time we dropped to 55 officers, which simply is unacceptable for a community like Hemet, and the drop in staffing has had a direct correlation to the issues we are seeing now. Over time, we will continue to add personnel to our traffic bureau, Crime Suppression Unit and our Restoring Our Communities Strategy Team which responds to all our quality of life calls for service like vagrancy and trespassing. We will be taking a hardline stance on these issues, and it will be very uncomfortable for those who chose to continue to commit these crimes in Hemet.”
Webb cited ways the community can help.
“Our community has been very vocal abut what issue are important to them, and we are hopeful that by being creative and continuing to build partnerships with churches, community groups and other government agencies we will make Hemet a safer place,” Webb said. “I wish I could simply flip a switch and remove the negative issues that has challenged Hemet over the last decade, but it will take time to fully recover. But we are on the way to making those changes. However, the process cannot be only shouldered by the police. It must be a complete community effort. When I worked a beat, I could simply arrest a person, and the problem was solved. With the current state of our county jail system that is simply not possible, so we must find other ways to solve the problems that were not traditionally police issues.
“Now we are expected to handle homelessness, mental illness and addiction,” Webb said. “We can make a difference in these areas and many of the calls we respond to by having relationships with those that can offer permanent and long-term help. As an example, recently we have found housing for homeless veterans in our community. This is a great permanent solution.”
Next, Webb discussed what’s to come in 2018.
“In early January, we will be looking at an internal service assessment and a department organizational structure evaluation,” Webb said. “Our goal will be to make sure we are offering the best service possible and also to appropriately manage our resources. The Hemet Police Department’s goal will be to get the community to a point where people feel safe, day and night, and enjoy living and working in Hemet. I know it sounds simple, but the process to get there is going to be a lot of hard work by not the department but also our community. We look forward to providing a leadership role during the process. We are looking and building on our future; we are not going to dwell in the past.”