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Gardena Captain Is New Buena Park Chief

South Bay native Tom Monson, the sixth to lead the city's police force, replaces Gary Hicken, who served for decades and retired.

September 28, 2004|David Reyes | Times Staff Writer

A Gardena police captain has been hired to replace Buena Park Police Chief Gary Hicken, who retired in March, the department announced Monday.

Tom Monson, 43, who was born and raised in the South Bay area, has been with Gardena police for 22 years, Buena Park officials said.

Monson, who will earn $141,740 a year, will oversee a department with 200 employees and an annual budget of $18 million.

He will begin Monday. The City Council will hold an installation ceremony Oct. 12.

Monson began his career as a patrol officer, followed by assignments with the burglary unit, detectives bureau and SWAT, officials said.

In 1999, he was promoted to captain in charge of the Gardena department's support services for training, recruitment and personnel management.

In 2001, Monson was Gardena's first graduate of the FBI National Academy in Virginia. He also holds degrees in management and criminal justice.

He becomes Buena Park's sixth police chief since the city's incorporation in 1953. Hicken retired after more than 28 years with the force.

Originally known as a dairy center, Buena Park has evolved into a suburban community of more than 80,000 residents, with an entertainment zone that includes Knott's Berry Farm, Movieland Wax Museum and Medieval Times dinner theater.

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