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,”