There are few jobs as iconic as that of police chief. The head of one of the City’s largest departments, and responsible for not only the health and safety of almost 100 sworn officers, but also the City’s sense of safety and well-being, the Police chief heads a department that fields more than 100,000 calls for service a year while maintaining an aggressive training schedule, an emergency response team and an investigations division.
Santa Cruz’s chief, Kevin Vogel, has lived in town and worked with the Santa Cruz Police for 26 years. A graduate of Lynbrook HS in San Jose Chief Vogel started in patrol and rose through the ranks, eventually assuming the top job in 2010.
For this first in a series of City staff profiles we sat down with Chief Vogel to learn about the man behind the badge.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of the job is working with the men and women of the Santa Cruz Police Department and providing opportunities for my staff to develop and advance within the organization. I enjoy watching younger officers advance in their careers, and get to know the community that they serve.
I enjoy hiring new police officers and providing them with the same opportunity that was provided to me. I would like people to remember me as someone who provided those opportunities.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
The hardest part of my job has been leading the Department through the days, weeks and months that have followed the tragic and unexpected loss of two of our officers, Loran “Butch” Baker and Elizabeth Butler, last winter. I did not do this alone. The Department pulled together in ways that are indescribable in words. We all helped each other through this tragic event.
Is there one work accomplishment you are most proud of?
I’m most proud of the reputation the Santa Cruz Police Department has established in the law enforcement community. The SCPD has the reputation of being an agency that is on the cutting edge of technological advancements in police work thanks to our efforts to build a mobile app, bring so much of our work online using new tools to share our successes and challenges, and implement a predictive policing program.
Tell us about your family.
My wife Bev and I have two daughters Alison and Erika, and two grandchildren Emma and Tanner. My Mom and Dad still live in the house I grew up in in Saratoga and my brother, his wife, our nieces and a nephew all live in San Jose. My kids and grandkids thankfully all live closer, here in Santa Cruz County.
Favorite song or favorite kind of music?
I tend to gravitate to the music that was popular when I was growing up. The music I listen to depends on my mood. I have a huge collection of music with many different genres, from country to classic rock so I never have a shortage of choices.
What are your favorite local spots?
I enjoy going Downtown. Kianti’s is one of my favorite places to have dinner. I also like Zoccoli’s for lunch. I just saw Taming of the Shrew (Shakespeare Santa Cruz) in the Festival Glen at UCSC last week and really enjoyed it. I enjoy the Greek Festival, parades downtown and Warriors games.
Anything else you’d like us to know about you?
I love animals. We have a lhasa apso dog named Millie and a tabby cat named Theodore (nickname: Tito).
My wife and I also love to travel. We have been to Europe several times and we particularly like Italy and Greece. We also love Maui.
Photo credit (top): Tarmo Hannula / Register Pajaronian