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Staff photo by Aaron Aupperlee
Newly sworn-in Barstow police chief Dianne Burns meets Capt. Tom McCreary from Barstow's California Highway Patrol station in the City Council chambers on Monday morning. The city swore Burns in early on Monday so she could get to work later that day.

Police chief sworn in early to begin first full day in Barstow

Advanced training in the works for officers

BARSTOW — Barstow’s new police chief, Dianne Burns, did not sleep well Sunday night. She said the lack of air conditioning in her new apartment kept her awake, but judging by her energy early on Monday day, some of it had to be excitement about her new job.

Right as the city opened for business on Monday, City Clerk JoAnne Cousino swore in Burns as Barstow’s first woman chief of police.

“Thank you for volunteering for the city of Barstow,” Ron Rector, the acting city manager, said. “You can bring your experience here to help us through some of our growing pains.”

Burns comes to Barstow with 20 years at the Los Angeles Police Department. Her most recent post was with a gang task force, a fact Mayor Lawrence Dale said made her stand out over the other candidates for the position.

“We feel like we have made a good choice for our city,” Dale said. “It is just a plus to see someone with experience.”

In a few short remarks made on Monday, Burns said she is going to focus on getting the department to “work smarter,” with its shortage of officers. She said she was going to sit down with the department lieutenants and look at crime statistics to get a better feel for


Burns also reached out to the California Highway Patrol and sheriff’s stations in Barstow, expressing a desire to building relationships across the departments to strengthen law enforcement in Barstow, she said. Council member Julie Hackbarth-McIntrye said she was excited to see the resource-sharing and alliance building that could result.

“We’ll get to see all the agencies come together as a team,” she said.

Dale said the city held the early morning ceremony because Burns had to be sworn in before she could begin her duties as a police chief. And once she was sworn in, she announced plans for advanced training for Barstow police officers and any other area law enforcement who want to participate.

“It will give the guys more confidence and expose them to new aspects of crime-fighting so they can tackle the gang and narcotics problem,” she said.

She does not expect the training to cost the city any money, hoping to get the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to pay for it.

City Manager Hector Rodriguez, who first submitted Burns at the top candidate to the City Council, could not attend Monday’s ceremony. John Rader, a spokesman for the city, said Hector was on leave spending time with his wife and newborn baby boy. Samuel Rodriguez, eight pounds and three ounces, was born on Friday, Rader said.

“Both mom and baby are doing fine,” he said.


Name: Dianne Burns

Hometown: Alexandria, Virginia

Experience: 20 years with the LAPD, one term with the New Hampshire House of Representatives

Hobbies: Reading, golfing, watersports

Favorite superhero: Doesn’t really have one, but Council member Joe Gomez is in the running

Why Barstow: “I’ve been coming through here since 1989...and when the Barstow chief position opened up, I jumped on it.”

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