The former captain of the Montebello Unified School District Police Department will join Mt. San Jacinto College on March 1, 2011 as its new chief of police.
John Ortega, whose experience includes working in law enforcement for nearly two decades, resigned from his post at the Montebello Unified School District Police Department to take over the position at MSJC. The position was previously held by interim chief of police Terry Meadows. Meadows, who retired from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, was limited by state retirement regulations to working only a certain number of hours.
“Terry Meadows has been outstanding and provided the strong leadership needed during our search for a permanent chief of police. While we will miss Terry, we are very excited to begin working with John,” said Irma Ramos, Vice President of Human Resources. “With the change of leadership in the police department also comes a realignment of responsibilities. Starting March 1, the police department will report to Dr. Bill Vincent, Vice President of Student Services. This realignment will integrate nicely with campus life.”
Ortega holds a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and is completing coursework at Woodbury University for a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership.
"It is truly an honor to become the Chief of Police for Mt. San Jacinto College Police Department,” Ortega said. “I believe that vision and teamwork are integral to a successful partnership between myself and the community that I serve. I am looking forward to working with the many valuable members of the faculty, staff, student body and community.”
Ortega, 42, serves as a HAZMAT technician and has been trained in numerous courses through the Department of Homeland Security. He is also a certified instructor for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He has been SWAT trained and certified. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Southern California Chaplains’ Association.
Ortega began his career with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. While working for the sheriff’s department, he specialized in working with gangs. In 2005, John was given a lateral promotion to the Montebello Unified School District Police Department.
During his tenure at Montebello, Ortega has implemented a district wide Emergency Preparedness plan. This plan trains employees and officers for a myriad of natural and manmade disasters. Under his supervision, the department has implemented new technology, Record Management System & Computer Automated Dispatch (RMS/CAD) system, and radio communication system through Interagency Communications Interoperability System (ICIS). He was able to receive the Readiness Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) grant allowing the district to purchase additional disaster equipment, emergency radios, and supplies for all school sites. On a daily basis, Ortega has been responsible for overseeing the safety and livelihood of 32,000 students and more than 3,000 employees.
"John's background gives him the knowledge we need at the helm of our Police Department," said Dr. Vincent. "He has extensive experience with school safety, students and other issues that will translate well in a community college setting. John has an impressive list of achievements and the proven experience we need to continue to move forward with excellence in our police department.”
In addition to his current career in law enforcement, Ortega spends a great deal of time working with his community of Orange. Ortega, along with his wife and children, live in the small historic town in which he was born and raised.