Maricopa’s new Police Chief Mark Goodman begins his tenure Monday morning, Jan. 23.
He comes to Maricopa from Pasadena, Calif., where he served 28 years with its Police Department, which is the fourth-largest law-enforcement agency in the Los Angeles area.
InMaricopa was granted an exclusive interview with the 52-year-old Goodman to get insights into his career, policing philosophies and early impressions of Maricopa.
Goodman and Victoria, his wife of 27 years, have three daughters: Courtney, 25; Caitlin, 23; and Christa, 20.
Here is Part 1 of our interview with the new police chief. Part 2 is coming Monday evening.
InMaricopa: Are you excited about coming to Maricopa?
Chief Goodman: I’m very excited. I’ll be in Phoenix tomorrow (Saturday), and my wife and I are in the process of purchasing a house in town. I’m hoping to be a full-fledged Maricopa resident by mid-February.
InMaricopa: Give us a little background on yourself.
Chief Mark Goodman: I was born and raised in a small city called San Gabriel, California. It’s a suburb of the city of Los Angeles. My father was a police officer at San Gabriel PD. I kind of grew up in police departments here and there. I’ve gotten exposed to police work at a really early age. I always looked at my dad and the people he worked with, his colleagues, as sort of like heroes in our community. So, I said to myself, ‘Hey, I want to be a hero, too.”
If you would have asked me back then, when I was young, who are the people you look up to, who are your heroes? Most people I think would say a celebrity, or a sports figure or someone like that. And I always would say my dad was my hero and the people he works with are. I look up to them as people I want to emulate. So that’s where I got interested in police work.
Once I graduated from high school I went to Cal State-Los Angeles where I got a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. So, I was pretty committed to being a police officer.
InMaricopa: Tell us about your time at Pasadena PD.
Goodman: In 1994, I applied to the Pasadena Police Department – you may have heard of it. We have this small event every year called the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl game. We have a small stadium in town called the Rose Bowl. I was very fortunate to have been hired by Pasadena PD. It really opened up a lot of opportunities in law enforcement to me.
When you get hired at a police department, you always kind of wonder what lies ahead, you know? In LA County there are four big police departments: There’s LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department); the LA Sheriff’s Department, Long Beach Police is the third-largest agency in LA County and Pasadena is the fourth-largest.
I was really fortunate to get hired there because Pasadena had everything that a young officer could want. They had all kinds of specialized assignments like air support, SWAT, canine, detectives, narcotics. The world was wide open to me. So, I spent the next 20 or so years in that organization working my way through the ranks. I worked in every division of the Police Department throughout my 28 years and got just a ton a experience in all kinds of different aspects of law enforcement.
I worked patrol, I worked detectives, I served on our special-weapons team, I worked street-level gangs and narcotics, I worked in our traffic bureau, I got to be part of our air support unit for almost five years, I worked in internal affairs. As I made my way through the ranks, I had a lot of different opportunities, and those different opportunities afforded me ways to look at police work through different lenses and get a handle on operational and administrative sides of law enforcement. I had great teachers and mentors along the way that helped guide me. It culminated in me becoming the Chief of Police in Maricopa.
I feel very fortunate, very blessed to have the opportunity to be in Maricopa and help move everything forward there and be a part of a great team.
InMaricopa: Tell us about your connection to Arizona. What drew you here, and to Maricopa?
Goodman: It’s kind of an interesting journey. All three daughters attended Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. So, my oldest, Courtney, attended Grand Canyon on an ROTC scholarship. She is currently a first lieutenant in the United States Army, and she serves as a nurse in the Army Nurse Corps.
When my middle daughter, Caitlin, went to GCU, we would visit quite a bit and in doing so eventually my youngest daughter, Christa, decided she wanted to go to Grand Canyon, too. So, about the time Caitlin was getting ready to graduate, I asked her what her plans were. Was she going to come back to California? And she told us she liked Arizona and was going to stay here, get an apartment and do “adulting.”
With my youngest getting ready to go to GCU, my wife said, “We are here a lot anyway. Why don’t we look at the possibility of buying a house in Phoenix that’s close to the university?” We bought a house in Phoenix and that’s sort of the genesis story of me coming to Maricopa.
As time went by, of course we missed our daughters. I was getting to a point at Pasadena where I had 26, 27 years on the job and my wife was saying, “Why don’t you maybe look for a job in Arizona?” I started to look around and saw the posting in Maricopa and I reached out to Maricopa, and the more research I did, the more things resonated to me about the city, and I realized this is a great opportunity and I really wanted to pursue the police chief job here. I was fortunate enough to get the job.
This was really the opportunity I was looking for to bring my love for law enforcement and love for family together into the same place. I’m really excited for all the possibilities that lie ahead.
InMaricopa: Tell us how policing in Pasadena and Maricopa are similar, and different.
Goodman: Pasadena has authorized 234 sworn officers and combined with the professional staff, Pasadena PD has about 375 employees. Obviously, Maricopa has a much smaller staff. But the size of the staff has to be commensurate with the service we provide and the population, right? Pasadena had a population of about 140,000.
InMaricopa: Are the types of crimes the same in the two cities?
Goodman: Property crime is pervasive wherever you go. Fortunately, violent crime here, comparatively speaking to the LA area, is much, much, much lower. And my goal will be to keep it that way.
InMaricopa: Do you see value in officers wearing body cameras? If so, will you enforce MPD’s policy requiring officers to do so? If so, how?
Goodman: Body cameras are hugely important. Obviously, they can be used to refute complaints against officers. That’s something that’s accomplished very simply through body-worn camera footage. But also, we’re recording hundreds of hours of data each and every day practically from body-worn cameras. Part of my vision is to use body-worn camera footage just like professional sports teams use game film. They all look at game film and we have thousands of hours of game film that we have access to, and we should be leveraging that data to make ourselves better.
InMaricopa: How does policing in Maricopa, Arizona, differ from Pasadena, California?
Goodman: Obviously, Maricopa is a growing community. It will be different in that city leadership is looking to grow the city, so city police have to grow public safety along with it. Pasadena is established, it is done developing. Even when I was a new officer in Pasadena in 1994, the city was pretty much built out. Maricopa is not built out. It has a ton of potential for development both in residential and commercial. This is a great opportunity to use my experience from Pasadena in terms of law enforcement and public safety and really be a part of the team that’s growing the city out and making sure we’re providing the appropriate level of public safety for those coming here to live, work play in Maricopa.
I firmly believe people choose where they live, work and decide to establish businesses at least partly on safety. We want to provide our community members and businesses with a feeling of safety so they know their families are going to be safe and their businesses are going to be safe, and they can be prosperous in all aspects of their lives in Maricopa. I want to be sure that’s what we’re communicating to the folks that are living and visiting and establishing businesses in town.
I view the Police Department as an integral part of economic development, and I want to be sure the Police Department is supporting the city’s overall mission and that we’re providing a really high feeling of public safety.
InMaricopa: What is your first priority Monday? For your first month? Year?
Goodman: My first priority is to start building relationships. I firmly believe the next iteration of policing is built around relationships. I immediately want to start building relationships not only with team members, but all around. I want to build relationships but with the executive team, with members of my Police Department, members of the community, and the business community.
I want to be visible and accessible. I want people to know they can call me and talk to me about any issue that may be on their mind. I want to listen to the concerns of the community, and I also want to learn about the Police Department. I want to learn about their culture and how they do business. I want to learn about their “why.”
Part of what brought me to Maricopa, what really resounded with me, was “find your why.” That’s part of what we say at Maricopa is “find your why.” I want all my people in the Police Department to find their why, to find their individual why. It may vary from person to person, but I guarantee you that everybody at Maricopa PD is committed to public safety and they’re committed to the community because that’s why we get into law enforcement in the first place.
In Part 2 tomorrow, Goodman discusses his policing philosophies, long-term goals for the department and relationship-building in the community and with the news media.