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NEWS IN BRIEF: A summary of developments across Los
Angeles County | Community News File / West Covina

San Marino Official Named as Police Chief

October 23, 1998

San Marino Police Chief Frank Wills will be the new chief in West Covina, his hometown.

West Covina City Manager Dan Hobbs announced the hiring Thursday, saying the 43-year-old Wills "is one of the top talents in Southern California policing."

Wills, 43, spent 15 years as a Pasadena police officer before being appointed chief in San Marino in 1993. His tenure was noted for programs to reduce gang problems and reduce crime to its lowest level since 1964.

Hobbs said Wills' so-called zero tolerance stance against gangs figured prominently in the appointment. Although West Covina has few problems with gangs, he said, City Hall was determined to hire a police chief who "would keep it that way."

Hobbs also said Wills was adept at interacting with diverse communities, an important attribute in multiethnic West Covina. As evidence, he said, Wills is a lifelong member of the NAACP, even though he is white.

Wills received the 1997 Law Enforcement Executive Award of Merit from the Peace Officers Shrine Club of Los Angeles.

"He has a very approachable style and a leadership that just shines," Hobbs said.

Wills was raised in West Covina.

He is tentatively scheduled to begin his new position on November 30. He replaces William Ellis, a former Long Beach chief who has served as interim chief for the last ten months.

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