‘Resident Intellectual’ Stamper Is Appointed Assistant Police Chief

Times Staff Writer

San Diego Police Chief Bob Burgreen appointed Norm Stamper to the department’s second highest post Monday, choosing him over three other deputy chiefs to be assistant chief.

“I am extremely pleased to make this appointment,” Burgreen said, just one week after his confirmation as the department’s chief. “We share a common vision of what police business should be about.

“Norm and I have worked together for nearly 20 years. He is in total agreement with my vision for policing the city and he has exhibited throughout his career an ability to transform good ideas into sound programs,” Burgreen said.

Stamper, 44, recently completed a doctoral dissertation on police leadership practices, which Burgreen said he believes “will become the definitive study of effective leadership in big-city policing. (It) offers a clear picture of the problems and frustrations of being chief, but it also presents a blueprint for effective police leadership, and I intend to put those concepts into practice in San Diego,” the chief said.


“Some comments the chief made in a management class a few years ago spurred my interest in the study,” Stamper said Monday.

Leader Rather Than Manager

After the announcement, Stamper, often referred to as the department’s “resident intellectual,” said he will make sure Burgreen will be seen as the leader of the department rather than the manager, which was the principal concept of his dissertation.

Burgreen, who was receiving pressure from the Latino community to appoint Deputy Chief Manuel Guaderrama, the only minority member among the department’s deputy chief ranks, said he had to decide which deputy chief would be better for the department over the long haul.


“Although Norm is not a minority, I know of no other person who can help the department” address the community’s strained relations, Burgreen said. “I will rely on his organizational skills to make certain the Police Department lives up to its commitment to provide effective and dignified service to all segments of our city.

“His demonstrated commitment to non-discriminatory police practices and equal employment opportunity is second to none,” Burgreen said. “I know of no one who cares more or works harder to make the Police Department representative of the citizens we serve. It’s difficult to make decisions to advance minorities when they’re not among the ranks of those eligible to be advanced.”

$80,000 a Year

Stamper, who will receive about $80,000 annually in his new position, said he and the chief will share responsibility for bridging the gap between the department and the various communities.


“I’m going to see to it that organizations combine and work effectively to help the chief with his vision for the Police Department,” Stamper said.

Lt. Skip DiCerchio, spokesman for the Police Officers Assn., said his organization is happy with Stamper’s appointment. “We’re delighted he was selected, but we also believe, as it has been indicated by others, that all of the department’s deputy chiefs are more than qualified to serve as the assistant chief,” he said. Don Davis and Mike Rice were the other deputy chiefs considered for the post.

“We were looking for someone who is approachable and will have an open-door policy when it comes to talking about labor relations,” DiCerchio said.

Roberto Martinez, co-chairman of the Coalition for Law and Justice, a Chicano civil rights group, said: “We’re pretty disappointed because Burgreen said he was going to make improving police relations (with minorities) a priority. Choosing Guaderrama would have been a step in that direction because of his experience with the Hispanic community.


“The fact that Guaderrama was sidestepped contradicts what the chief has said as far as equal opportunity and affirmative action is concerned,” Martinez said. “We shouldn’t be surprised with his choice, but it takes away all of Burgreen’s credibility, though.”

Burgreen, who hinted at retiring as chief in five years, said he hopes Stamper will be the one to take over at that time.