For Pomona Police Chief Joe Romero, 2011 was going to be a significant year.
His department would celebrate its 100th anniversary, and he would announce his retirement.
But Tuesday morning, all of that changed when he met with City Manager Linda Lowry, who told him that his services would no longer be needed.
Lowry could not comment further on Romero's dismissal, because he was still an at-will employee, making it a "personnel matter," said Mark Gluba, assistant to the city manager.
On Wednesday, Assistant Police Chief Dave Keetle was named the department's acting chief, according to a city official.
Council members could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Community activists were surprised by the dismissal. "Everyone's upset about this. [Romero] is respected and well-liked," said Frank Delgado, 32.
"I think it's unjustified," said community activist Virginia Madrigal. "He's served [more than] 30 years with the city."
Romero was hired as a police cadet in 1975. By 1994, he had become the department's first Latino police captain.
In September 2006, Romero was sworn in as police chief.