Homegrown deputy chief worked to make Santa Ana better throughout long career


From serving on the Community Oriented Policing Task Force to working as a crime analyst, from helping develop counter-terrorism practices as part of an Antiterrorism Task Force to overseeing community outreach programs, Deputy Chief Ken Gominsky has contributed to the success of the Santa Ana Police Department from every angle.

After nearly 35 years with the department, Gominsky is just days away from retiring.

His next role will be to spend plenty of time with his family and take on projects around the house.

Based on his numerous assignments at Santa Ana Police Department, Gominsky’s reason for going into law enforcement in the first place has more than played out.

“The opportunity for challenges excited me,” the deputy chief said. “I liked the idea of doing different things every day.”

Gominsky, whose father was a Santa Ana police officer, grew up about 10 blocks from the Santa Ana police station. He enjoyed hearing his father tell stories about the job.

“The one thing I always noted from my father is that it was never the same thing from day to day,” he recalled.

Retiring Santa Ana Police Deputy Chief Ken Gominsky.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

So, at age 15, Gominsky became an Explorer for the Sana Ana Police Department and has been with the department ever since.

By age 21, Gominsky was a police officer and, just like every new officer, started working in patrol and then earning promotion after promotion.

“I’ve seen Deputy Chief Gominsky climbing the ranks of the police department,” said records supervisor Patty Munoz, who has worked with Gominsky through his entire time with the agency. “He seems to have fun at whatever he does. He excels at every position. He is always cheerful and full of energy.”

While in patrol, Gominsky was part of the Community Oriented Policing Task Force. The purpose of the task force was to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods rife with narcotics. The task force also initiated one of the first “bait” car and “bait” bicycle programs in the county.

“All of those interesting programs that we tried taught us what didn’t work and what worked and became the bases of so many other things that we did in this organization as part of the problem solving initiative,” Gominsky said.

Patrol is dramatically different today than it was then, Gominsky said.

Police handle fewer calls today because calls are more complex and police are more responsible for the mental well-being of citizens, he said.

“Taking time, talking to people, finding out what it is they need,” Gominsky said.  “Now it is just one of the things that society expects law enforcement today and I think the profession is better for it.”

After being promoted to corporal, Gominsky served on the Anti-Terrorism Task Force, where he partnered with federal law enforcement agencies post 9/11 to combat international and national terrorism.

“I had several cases that were very interesting,” he said. “I got to work with the feds, people from other countries, long-term surveillances, traveling all over the place. It was a very fun, interesting experience. To this day, I still can’t talk about most of the stuff we did.”

In 2003, Gominsky received a commendation for his work in a money laundering investigation when discovering large amounts of untraceable cash that were being wire transferred illegally to groups in the Middle East. The investigation led to arrests and the issuance of federal indictments.

“Investigator Gominsky’s tenacity and dedication to the security of our nation against terrorism reflects the highest standards of our department and is to be commended,” Sgt. John Follo wrote on the commendation.

Retiring Santa Ana Police Deputy Chief Ken Gominsky talks about his career.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

When he became sergeant, Gominsky took on several more assignments, but his favorite was in field operations, where he had the opportunity to supervise and help develop young officers.

“It was fun to see people get to where they wanted to get,” he said.

Also as sergeant, Gominsky worked in computer services and as a crime analyst.

After being promoted to commander, Gominsky served as watch commander and commander of the Technology and Support Bureau, Homeland Security Division and Field Operations.

He helped develop new technology in the department’s jail and was part of a team that brought in a new dispatch system.

“The department gave me the opportunity to be successful in some very, very large scale programs,” he said.

As commander, Gominsky spent seven years handling every police complaint that came in. The job was challenging but rewarding, he said.

“I got attuned to all the different issues that occurred in this city everywhere every day,” he said. “On a good day, there were 16-hour days at a minimum, but I got to know everybody.”

Gominsky developed a complaint tracking system which ultimately led to some of the community programs that are in place today, such as movie nights, shop with a cop, pancakes with Santa and coffee with a cop.

“Cops have to give back,” he said. “This was just a way for us to get out there and have people see us. It’s been embraced. We continue to do about 130 things a year.”

As one of three deputy chiefs, Gominsky oversees the investigations division, which includes homicide, special crimes, family crimes, general investigations, the metropolitan unit, the Family Justice Center, and cybercrimes.

“They just do amazing work,” he said. “They are relentless. ‘I’m just so incredibly proud of all of them.”

“I have worked with many police administrators and executives over my career and Deputy Chief Ken Gominsky is second to none! Ken leaves a legacy behind of genuinely working hard to make a difference and positively impact the most vulnerable lives in our City. Ken is adored by everyone and for good reason. I respect him for the servant leader, courage and community relationship building that is his legacy”, said Santa Ana Police Chief David Valentin. 

Throughout his three-plus decades, Gominsky said his goal was to make a positive difference every step of the way.

“I will miss the people who live in this city a lot. I have spent 30 plus years of my life here. I hope that my efforts made things just a little bit better,” he said.