City officials have selected South Pasadena Police Captain Brian Solinsky to be the acting chief while a recruitment process is undertaken to find the person that will replace Art Miller on a permanent basis.
Miller, who left South Pasadena just last week to be the next police chief of Peoria, AZ., ran the SPPD for more than five years. Miller has been credited with stabilizing a department that at times was divided.
“Whenever there is a change in a police department, people wonder what’s in store, what’s going to change,” Solinsky said during a telephone interview Tuesday morning. “Chief Miller left the department with a solid foundation and I’m going to build on that.”
Solinsky, who has been with the department since 1993 after serving about six months as a reserve deputy sheriff in the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, has been “deeply involved” in the programs Miller implemented.
“I’ve been with the department for 25 years and have cut my teeth here,” Solinsky said. “I have been preparing for this for many years. All the programs that Chief Miller put in place over the last five years I have been involved with, deeply involved with. I want to continue that, yes, but I don’t believe in being stagnant. I know every day that when we go out to serve the community, we have to prove ourselves.”
Solinsky, 47, is a second-generation police officer. His father is a retired CHP officer. After joining the SPPD, Solinksy was appointed as a field training officer and then was promoted to detective in 2000, where he was assigned to a Los Angeles County task force investigating organized crime. He returned to South Pasadena in 2002 as a station detective.
He was promoted up the ranks until 2015, when he was made a captain supervising the Field Operations Division, which includes patrol, traffic, K9’s, Office of Professional Standards, and Homeland Security, among others. Three years later, he was assigned as the Administrative Captain, overseeing the department’s communication center, records, the special enforcement team and detectives.
He started as the acting chief Aug. 19, the day after Miller officially stepped down.
One of the first challenges Solinsky faces is to replace his command staff. Captain Mike Neff and Motor Officer Bill Earley are retiring in October.
“They will have a shared party in November,” Solinsky said. “They both have 30-plus years and it’s important the up-and-comers are ready for the challenges of the command staff.” There are three internal candidates qualified to fill the two captain slots now open. They are Jim Valencia, who has already been made acting captain to replace Solinsky, Sgt. Bob Bartl and Sgt. Tony Abdalla.
“They are all qualified to test for the captain spot,” Solinsky said. “There may come a time that we look outside the department but right now we are good.”
Solinsky, like Miller, is a strong proponent of community policing and plans to be out in the community more often than not.
“I’m going to go to all our neighborhood watches and community organizations,” Solinsky said. “I will be at the Farmers’ Market. I know a lot of people but there may be somebody that doesn’t know me. I want them to know me and this department.”
Solinsky has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and can speak German. He is married with two children.