After months of searching, the city of Menlo Park has selected a new police chief: David Norris.
Norris, who is expected to start March 22, has worked with the San Mateo Police Department since 1993, according to a citywide announcement released March 2.
With that department, he worked his way up from police service aide to officer, sergeant, lieutenant, and then captain. He has worked as a police captain for six years, during which time he served as the city's acting and interim chief during periods between 2019 and 2020.
"David Norris is a great addition to the Menlo Park Police Department," said Mayor Drew Combs in a prepared statement. "He brings a wealth of experience from the many roles he has held in the San Mateo Police Department. Additionally, his familiarity with the Peninsula and past interactions with the Menlo Park Police Department will allow for a speedy ramp up. He's the right person to lead the department as we begin a dialogue with the community about how our police resources are deployed."
"Incoming Chief Norris is a well-respected and experienced law enforcement executive who will be a strong partner on our Menlo Park team. He brings an open mind, valuable insights and the necessary skills to help mentor and lead our police department," said City Manager Starla Jerome-Robinson.
Norris has 27 years of experience in local law enforcement and was a co-founder of the Bay Area Law Enforcement Social Media Group and has done work with media and community relations. He is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and serves on the Police Professional Standards, Ethics and Image Committee, which is an international team of experts working to review the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics and creating tools for police agencies to engage with their communities, according to the announcement.
He also holds a master's degree in law enforcement and public safety leadership from the University of San Diego and a bachelor's degree in human performance from St. Mary's College.
"I am proud to work in a county where police departments prioritize our connection with our community and our ability to work collaboratively with our communities and each other," Norris said in a prepared statement. "It was incredibly important to me to take on a responsibility like police chief locally. I’m excited to get to know the people who live, work and play here in Menlo Park and the dedicated professionals who serve this community,” he added.
With the San Mateo Police Department, Norris formed the department's first community and media relations unit and has supported and developed the department's community engagement approach. He also managed high-profile cases, helped to develop a youth services unit and coached personnel through professional development and promotions, according to the announcement.
Norris will be the third Dave or David in a row to lead the department – he was preceded by chief Dave Bertini, who announced his departure from the department suddenly last June during a discussion on police reform.
Bertini was followed by interim chief David Spiller, who recently announced he planned to take on the police chief role for the city of San Rafael. Spiller is set to start his new position March 16.