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Burbank PD has new face

Jackson Bell

The Burbank Police Department will usher in the new year with a new

public face -- at least temporarily.

Beginning Jan. 15, Sgt. William Berry, the depart- ment’s public


information officer, will be reassigned, and Sgt. Brian Matthews will

assume Berry’s duties.

Berry will fill in for Lt. Pat Lynch, who will be on assignment

for about three months. Neither Berry nor Matthews would disclose the


nature of the assignment.

Although Berry is not being promoted, he will receive a

lieutenant’s pay for supervising about 25 officers in the Patrol

Bureau and overseeing the Communications Center and Records Bureau.

Instead of working a standard shift, Berry will work from 6 a.m.

to 6 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

“I actually don’t mind working that shift, but I’ll work wherever

I’m told,” he said. “That’s the thing about police work, you never


know what your schedule will be. Besides, my wife is used to it.”

Matthews, a 27-year department veteran, said he plans to follow

Berry’s lead and foster good communication with the public and the


“I would like to make sure that a reputation and relationships are

established, and the information given is fair and accurate for

everyone’s purposes,” he said.

Berry, meanwhile, is comfortable lending his position to Matthews,


an officer who he said knows the department well.

“His knowledge of and experience in the department gives him a

good understanding of how it works,” Berry said. “He will be a good


Matthews, 48, began his career with the Burbank Police Department

as a cadet in 1976 before officially joining the force the following

year. He started in the Patrol Bureau and later worked for 12 years

as a detective. For the past three years, Matthews has worked in the

department’s Juvenile Bureau, where he will continue to serve when he

assumes his new role.

While Matthews is next in line to become the department’s next

full-time public-information officer, he said nothing is definite.

The role of public-information officer, meanwhile, is generally

regarded as a steppingstone to being promoted to lieutenant.

“I think they want to give lieutenant candidates more exposure to

the press and public-liaison type of issues, which lieutenants do

more than sergeants,” he said. “This is just some additional exposure

so everyone knows how to do it, so they don’t freeze up.”

Berry anticipates his promotion as soon as another lieutenant


“Basically, when it comes to filling temporary positions, they try

to [fill it with] someone who is being considered for the position,”

he said.