The Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety recently added a new police chief to the force who plans to bring new ideas and growth to the community.
Tim Mattos became police chief of the departement just a few short months ago. Joining the team back in December and taking over for interim police chief Jeff Weaver, he jumped at the opportunity as soon as he heard the position was available.
Mattos has dedicated much of his life to serving as a police officer and had been chief of the Suisun City Police Department before joining Rohnert Park.
In 1995, Mattos met a few of Rohnert Park’s officers and quickly became interested in transferring. He always wanted a career in a bigger agency where there was opportunity to flourish with rich resources.
“Coming from the outside, I look at this agency and the resources that are available are something I’d never experienced,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to work for an agency where we had the capacity and staffing to really do so much in the field of public safety.”
With over 29 years of experience, Mattos has developed different skills and the framework to build a successful force. “In this profession, you’re learning everyday. As you move up in rank, you take on different responsibilities, so it’s a constant learning process and through the years you develop your own style of leadership.”
Mattos had always had a passion for helping others and wanting to be in the field of action. Prior to joining the academy, he had always wanted to be a paramedic, and during his waitlist period to become one, he got the opportunity to be an EMT and work hands-on in the ambulances. While doing so, he got to work side by side with the police department and realised that is where his true passion was.
If he was not an officer, Mattos believes that he would have became a fifth grade teacher due to the passion a child has at that age and the determination to learn. This has even became a consideration after retirement.
Just this last month, the Rohnert Park police department had to reward a family a $1.2 million payout due to what was said to be an illegal house search, prompting a federal court to order the city of Rohnert Park to pay the family and its legal fees. Mattos was not a part of the force during the incident but did say he hopes to learn from it and move forward.
“In order to continue to improve as an agency, we have to be willing to keep learning new ways to approach things,” he said. Whether that be with new protocol or training practices, he sees this as a real learning experience that officers can use to grow. He never wants a member of the force to leave a bad impression on anyone in the community and hopes to change some misconceptions.
“I try and look at the situation and say, right wrong or indifferent, what can we learn from the situation that will make us better because our end goal is to help the community,” he said.
Nevertheless, crime rates have declined in Rohnert Park over the last few years, and Mattos wants to keep this steady. There are different programs in place around the community that he hopes to work on because they have significantly made a difference.
“If I Were A Thief” is a program, centered around Christmas time, where officers go out and put themselves in a thief’s mindset. They go to areas where high crime rates reside and try to catch people in the act.
Different programs like this, along with more officers patrolling the town, are just a few of the ways Mattos has been working to keep the streets safe, particularly for the city’s youth.
“I’m looking forward to developing a strong relationship with Sonoma State and it’s police department,” he said. “It’s important that we work together in order to provide a safe community for, not only residents, but also our students”
Chief Mattos believes that officers and students both being educated on safety -- when it comes to house parties or traffic stops -- is also something that he wants to work more on in his years to come as chief of the department.