The new chief looked at the photo he had brought to the podium as he made his speech.
“Grandpa,” Todd D. Elgin told the room of supporters, family and friends, “we did it.”
Charlie Kalstrup was police chief of Marysville, Mo., in the 1950s.
Elgin told his great-grandfather, shortly before he died at age 100 in April 1994, about his dream of also becoming a police chief.
Kalstrup told Elgin: “Work hard (and) keep your nose down,” and it just may happen.
On Jan. 1 this year, it did.
And on Jan. 13, when Elgin officially was sworn in as Garden Grove’s 12th police chief, he made sure to acknowledge his great-grandfather as well as his wife and children, past and present colleagues, city officials and others for his promotion to chief after 28 years with the agency.
In a 21-minute speech that at times was emotional, Elgin emphasized the great honor and privilege he felt being named to lead the agency of about 160 sworn officers — and about the great strides made since the GGPD launched a community policing partnership with the city in 1993.
Crime, Elgin said, is “significantly down” since then.
“Although there’s always room for improvement,” Elgin said, “I’m very fortunate as the new chief of police to have the partnerships and to have the community backing that we have here in the city of Garden Grove.”
Alluding to recent events that have created a climate of anti-police sentiment, Elgin said: “It is pretty tough theses days to be a police (officer)….It’s important that we don’t get caught up in the noise.”
Chiefs from Westminster, Tustin, Fullerton, Fountain Valley, Cypress and Anaheim attended Elgin’s swearing-in ceremony, along with Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. Former GGPD captain and current Master Reserve Officer Patrick Thrasher, who worked closely with Elgin for 25 years, swore in Elgin.
Elgin, who professed his goal of becoming a police chief when he graduated from the police academy in 1988, singled out such mentors as former police chiefs Kevin Raney and Joe Polisar, as well as former GGPD Deputy Chief Scott Jordan, the retired Tustin police chief.
“I watched,” Elgin said. “And I took mental notes.”
Elgin thanked members of the Garden Grove City Council, which recently experienced a historic change with the election of Bao Nguyen as mayor.
“As police officers, sometimes we get a little stiff when we talk about change,” Elgin said. “(But) we’re ready for change.”
One thing will remain a constant, Elgin stressed: the PD’s close partnership with city officials and residents.
“Moving forward, it’s a partnership,” Elgin said. “And we can’t do it without you.”