Chief Deputy Gary Pentis To Assume New Role
By Lenny Roberts
Effective Jan. 3, 2011, former Ojai Police Chief Gary Pentis will become one of two assistant sheriffs when Geoff Dean officially takes charge of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. In a press release issued Thursday, Dean said a restructuring of the department’s top officials was in order, and as a product of that modification, more than $1 million would be saved while protecting front-line services. Joining Pentis as assistant sheriff is John Crombach, former sheriff’s deputy and Oxnard chief of police.
Chief Deputy Gary Pentis, a 32-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, is currently assigned to the Special Services Division with oversight of the Major Crimes Bureau, Aviation Unit, Narcotics, Intelligence, Forensic Services and The Bomb and SWAT teams.
Gary has worked in virtually every division and brings with him vast experience in all functional and geographical areas of the Department. His assignments have included Detention Services, East County Patrol/Special Enforcement Unit, SWAT team member, and served ten years as a narcotics investigator and supervisor. During this time, Chief Pentis was recognized for his excellence in narcotics investigations and was named Narcotic Officer of the Year in 1986 and 1992, respectively.
Gary has held a variety of management positions since 1995; including the Pre-Trial Detention Facility, East County Patrol Services, East County Detective Bureau and Police Services for the City of Camarillo. In 2000, Chief Pentis was privileged to serve as the Acting Chief of Police for the City of Ojai for five years. This assignment was particularly rewarding in that he was instrumental in helping form the SAFE Coalition, a community based forum aimed to assist the at risk youth population and helped create the Social Host Ordinance that eventually was modeled for all Sheriff’s jurisdictions. Chief Pentis earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Health from San Diego State University. He has taught nationally and internationally covering topics that include international money laundering, task force management, social networking and open source intelligence gathering.
In his new role, Assistant Sheriff Pentis will lead the Special Services and Detention Services Divisions. Special Services is responsible for major crimes investigations, narcotics, the criminal forensic laboratory and the Sheriff’s air unit to mention a few of their duties. The Detention Services division includes all of the Sheriff’s jail facilities. These two divisions have an operating budget of $115 million dollars and 662 employees.
John Crombach began his law enforcement career in March 1978 as a deputy with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. Later he transferred to the Port Hueneme Police Department, where he worked in Patrol and Investigations until 1985. He began his career with the Oxnard Police Department in July 1985 as a patrol officer, and worked his way through the ranks and in March of 2005 was named Chief of Police.
Chief Crombach has an impressive list of credentials including supervisory and management experience as well as progressive leadership in all major areas of law enforcement including uniformed patrol, SWAT, investigations, traffic enforcement, training, community relations, administration, and labor relations. He brings an excellent record of community policing and problem solving.
Chief Crombach serves on the board of directors of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency and is a principal on a U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance project that is defining effective police leadership well into the 21 century.
He earned his master’s degree from California State University, Northridge in Public Administration and his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of La Verne.
He will lead the Patrol Services and Support Services Divisions. Patrol Services is responsible for all patrol and most investigations for all of the sheriff’s jurisdictions, including all five of the Sheriff’s contract cities, the Office of Emergency Services and the Sheriff’s communications center among others. Support Services division handles all financial and business operations, human resources, and the Sheriff’s regional training academy. These two divisions have a combined budget of $105 million dollars and 567 employees. The new Assistant Sheriff is immensely qualified to fill this role and will help to bring a fresh set of eyes to the department’s operations.