Part 2 of our Exclusive with Chief Dale Mondary!

Part 2 of our Exclusive with Chief Mondary

(Pictured above: Chief Mondary handing out certificates to our youth for exceptional behavior)

We opened last week discussing Chief Mondary’s experience and his impact here in DHS. Now obviously our city is becoming one of the fastest growing in the region; although he can’t take the credit all to himself, we want to recognize the impact he has had in helping us shine bright! In order to make the type of impact Chief Mondary has made, one has to believe in the city and recognize just how special DHS is. Having worked with him in past community endeavors, I believe that we can all attest to the fact that he loves Desert Hot Springs. Recently, I had a chance to ask him a few questions. My first objective was to ask him WHY he chose DHS, and his answer solidified his passion for the city.

“What I want for the City of Desert Hot Springs is for it to be the jewel of the Desert. I want it to be the safest city in the desert, one with job growth and tourism. [I want people] to come to the spas and enjoy the good life here and what it [the city] has to offer. In an ideal world, while housing remains affordable, we can continue to have a diverse community of Hispanics, Blacks, Whites, Asians, etc., as well as members of the LBGT community who feel welcome and safe.

(Pictured above: the swearing in ceremony of five officers last year)

A true leader has the ability to not only influence the current climate, but can simultaneously make strides to have an affect on his successor. Chief Mondary embodied that thought when he continued, “My ultimate goal is that when I leave here that I have left the Department and the City in better shape than what I inherited, that I leave a lasting impact on the city.” He wants to help establish a culture that will allow people to not think of Desert Hot Springs as ever being an undesirable/unsafe city. Ultimately, his desire is for people to look forward and say, “ We have a great city. What can we do to make it greater?”

(Pictured above: Chief Mondary with the Rotary Interact Club)

With an impressive resume, one has to believe that Chief Mondary wasn’t short of opportunities. That in itself should cause us to beam with pride because he chose DHS. Of course, I had to ask,“Why Desert Hot Springs?” Chief recalled, “When I decided that I wanted to seek a Chief of Police job, I began looking in earnest at communities I thought I would want to work in for a few years and retire (like a beach community ��). I did inquire at a beach city here in California, but withdrew as a finalist because I did not feel like it would be a good fit for me. I also applied at an agency in Arizona, Kansas, and in Oregon as well. When I first heard about the Desert Hot Springs opening from my wife, I told her I was not interested. Having lived in Yucca Valley and policed in that area for 20+ years, I was very aware of the reputation of DHS. The next day, I came home and my wife said she had been doing some research on the city and she thought that I would be a good candidate and encouraged me to at least look into the city. I spent several hours doing an internet search on virtually every aspect of the city- the good, the bad and the ugly…. There was plenty of all three…”

The next part of his recollection is amazing, “I came down to the city one day, parked my car at Vons, and asked people what they thought of the city and the Police Department. Most everyone I talked to was very honest with me (I did not tell them who I was only, that I was inquiring about the city) and to a person, they liked their Police. At that point I decided to apply, but kept looking into things. I did visit the P.D. and (then Commander) Jim Henson who was very open with me and very welcoming. The more I got to learn about the city and it’s issues, the more I came to believe that I was the right person for this job. I felt I knew what the city wanted and needed in a Chief and believed that I was the ideal candidate. After meeting with more of the city staff and (then City Manager) Martin Magana, I felt even more comfortable.” Finally, his faith steered him straight to DHS, “I am a man of faith and put a lot of prayer into my decisions and I believed that this is where God wanted me to be.”

(Pictured above: a day at the park with the Chief)

As mentioned last week, Chief Mondary has successfully integrated himself into the community by providing unprecedented access. From social media, to coffee, to even office appointments, he has proven time a time again that he will spend time with anyone to discuss ways the department can serve us better. When asked how the residents of Desert Hot Springs can assist in keeping our streets safe, he replied, “The residents can remain vigilant and involved with the neighbors; this has a huge impact on the crime rate. If neighbors know each other, they tend to look out for each other. They [tend to] know what is usual in their neighborhoods, so when they see something unusual, they can call and report it. This helps us stop crime before it even happens. Residents can also help by reporting suspicious activity and not just ignoring [said activity].”

A Chief of Police that has a heart for the community and committed to service… DHS is proud to boast that Dale Mondary is ours. He concluded our interview with a little transparency, “I have to be honest and say that you are correct, I could have chosen another opportunity. I have been recruited by a number of other cities since I have been here; they see the impact that I have had on the city with my philosophy. I know that I am underpaid. The City Manager has compensated me in other ways (the 4 – 10 work week so that I get an extra day off and he just increased my vacation hours to name a couple) and at times it is discouraging knowing that I am likely the hardest working Chief in the Valley. Also the most accessible, the most involved in his community, and yet I am by far the lowest paid. So while I am still receiving inquires, (I had yet another one today) I am currently content as the Chief in Desert Hot Springs. I am here because this is the place I wanted to be, not just to be a Chief, but I wanted THIS Chief’s job. The love I get from the community every day is why I want to be here.” Chief Mondary, thank you for leading our PD and Advancing DHS!
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