Kling Plans to Rebuild Rialto PD
Jason Pesick, SB Sun Staff Writer
By 14, Mark Kling was a police Explorer, and by his mid-20s, he was an officer.
Now 48 - he turns 49 on Friday - and with a touch of gray in his hair, Kling has just taken up the task of rebuilding a police department that faced the threat of elimination by the City Council last September.
"We're going to take the department back to the premier status it deserves," Kling said in an interview Wednesday, adding that there is a core group of police employees who will not allow the department to fall apart.
Only months ago, officers were leaving the department en masse following the troubled tenure of former Chief Michael Meyers and his deputy, Arthur Burgess. After a legal battle, the council reversed itself in June, adopting an ordinance preserving the department.
Now, according to department statistics from June, crime is on track to be down by 13.5 percent this year, response times are down, and the council has provided the department with funds for new vehicles and a reorganization of its hierarchy.
Andrew Pilcher, president of the Rialto Police Benefit Association, said morale is up among the officers.