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Six Questions for a San Marino Local: Police Chief John Schaefer

From detective to mechanic, San Marino Police Chief John Schaefer does it all.

Growing up in Cypress, CA, San Marino Police Chief John Schaefer had little insight into the crazy happenings of the world around him.

“It’s shocking. You start to see so many things you never imagined people would do or think of,” Schaefer said of his early years working in law enforcement. “It’s exciting and rewarding—and before I knew it, it was 36 years later.”

From detective to captain to police chief, Schaefer has worked in California law enforcement all his life. While at the Cypress police department, he served as a sex crime detective for four years, investigating auto theft and crimes against children. “It was very educational but also dark,” Schaefer said.

Working in San Marino can be less daunting, but that doesn’t mean there’s no excitement.

“It’s funny, for a small town with not very much crime, there are a lot of things going on,” said Schaefer. Burglaries, a  and a bank robbery are just a few of the many cases he’s witnessed over the past three and a half years as police chief.

And through it all, he says the residents of San Marino have been extremely supportive. “This day and age to see a community that is so supportive of the police department is very encouraging.”

When he’s not hard at work, Schaefer has no problems keeping busy, whether it’s yard work, racquetball or serving as a chaplain at the county juvenile hall. Oh, and he loves to work on cars—a hobby his father introduced to him at a young age.

“When I turned 16, my dad bought me my first car—a 1955 Ford. He and I did all the bodywork and then I took it to Earl Sheib and got it painted for only $29.95. Quite a bit less than I paid to have the Pontiac painted,” Schaefer joked about his latest hot rod (pictured).

But having recently sold the 1940 Pontiac Coupe, he’s on to the next venture— scouring the state for a 1932 Ford Roadster. In fact, you can catch him doing just that at the Pomona fairgrounds this April. 

In the meantime, check out what Schaefer had to say about good ole San Marino. 

What do you like most about San Marino? 

It is a beautiful community that places a high priority on public safety in addition to its many other outstanding attributes.

What is your favorite restaurant in San Marino? 

I love the atmosphere at . The goat cheese and dried tomato sandwich at , the walnut shrimp at the and clam chowder at are all favorites.

What is your favorite place in San Marino to take a stroll or go for a run? 

Huntington Drive from City Hall to Del Mar, cross the street and come back to Ridgeway, cross Huntington (if I can) and back to the station. The cops call this the “muffin walk.”

What is a little known fact about you? 

When I was a detective, I went to polygraph school.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor? 

Prefer frozen yogurt; the flavor doesn’t matter as long as there is a lot of it.

What is the No. 1 issue you are hoping to tackle as Police Chief of San Marino in 2011? 

I think a huge issue in the city is the Public Safety Assessment. This will be on the ballot in November, and this assessment allows San Marino PD and San Marino Fire to provide the services we do. The loss of these funds coupled with the cuts being made at the state level would have a critical impact on our ability to provide the public safety services this community has come to expect.

TweetyBird April 28, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Oh, that's rich. The Chief does it all, eh? I see protecting "the victims of picketing" - huh, what? Excuse me? Victims of picketing? Even richer, pardon the phrase. You poor folks. I mean surely there must be a law against picketing. After all it's not like protesting and acts of civil disobedience are protected by the U.S. Constitution, right? How could it be if the Chief himself calls folks being picketed "victims.?" The Chief is going have a much larger problem on his hands. As we careen towards anarchy and a surely looming period of civil war because poor and middle class folks are thrown out of their homes, their jobs and robbed of their tax dollars to support crooks masquerading as bank executives, the Chief may well have to answer for painting his elite residents as "victims." And why not? What do these folks have to lose now? Strip them of homes, jobs, health insurance and money - I'd be ready to wage war too. Hey Chief - a simple wink and nod to your elite masters, without telling the world you believe your masters are "victims," would go further and keep the peace longer, than enraging folks with your stupid, fathead remarks. I have a feeling when the term "tool" was first used to describe a person, rather than hardware, somehow they were thinking of you.

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