Sometimes a little boy’s interest turns out to be their life’s work and a perfect example of that is the Arrowhead Area CHP Commander John Tyler. As a little boy he spent an inordinate amount of time watching “cop” shows like Adam 12, CHIPs and other popular police shows of that era. Many years later he took his childhood interest, and not surprisingly, he became a law enforcement officer. A big “Rim” welcome has been extended to new Arrowhead Area CHP Commander Lt. John Tyler who is enjoying his new post (and vice-versa!)
The new commander has had years and years of varied experiences within the CHP program as well as in life. He’s worked in large metropolitan areas and in small communities such as Needles and now in the Rim of the World communities. He’s hard working, funny, dedicated to his job and the communities he serves and he’s got an inviting personality. I suspect he makes friends easily as he apparently likes people a lot.
“I am service oriented,” he told me during a recent interview. His goal is to maintain a good operation for the agency and all the residents and visitors who are part of the communities he serves. “I want to make my time here in the Rim communities the best I can,” he said.
One of the most important programs in the CHP is recruiting or bringing in new officers into the force. This can be a challenging process that ultimately can take up to two years for an officer to go through “the hoops” so to speak. The CHP always loses officers, many to retirement or transfers so recruiting new officers is a vital part of keeping the CHP force at workable levels. Commander Tyler said that of the newest recruitment measures is that candidates can now apply online through the CHP website. It is a challenging process in order to become a CHP officer and one of the major elements that prospective recruits have to go through is a psychological assessment to show their mental fitness. If they pass all the tests involved they go to the academy. Commander Tyler added that thirty to forty percent of the recruits don’t make it through the academy. With this high rate of men and women who don’t get hired this has a lot to do with the fact that the local CHP station as well as others are not fully staffed.
Since both the CHP and Caltrans are state agencies they help each other in many different ways, the commander added. One of the things the he is is investigating is where the “choke points” are in the mountains. These are areas on the highway where vehicles tend to back up with traffic. One of those points, he said, is the Big Bear dam area which can (and does) get very congested at times.
Currently the Arrowhead Area CHP has 26 officers allocated to the division but he expects to add one more officer to the local station. The station is allocated 29 officers but without one or two officers, they may not have a full “contingent” all the time. Commander Tyler added that when it’s an emergency the CHP can pull officers from other areas to come and assist where it’s needed.
When Officer Tyler completed the CHP academy he was first assigned to Baldwin Park, a community he served for eight years as a motor cop. He found it fascinating that the CHP in that city had their own accident investigation team and he learned a lot from those experiences. The commander said that the academy is a challenging process and before potential officers can even attend the academy they must undergo tests to measure their psychological condition as well as physical fitness for the job. “Thirty to forty percent don’t make it through the academy,” he said. The process to go through the academy is a long-time effort and can take up to two years.
Like all CHP officers the commander has had several different experiences in many different areas. He served a year as a field supervisor in San Francisco where he oversaw officers in their daily operations. “It was a great place to work,” he said. He spent three years in California’s beautiful bay area before he was transferred back to Riverside in September of 2007. He will never forget his experiences during the Old Fire that made an indelible imprint on the mountain communities, he said.
Following his time in the mountains he transferred to Altadena where he spent another year before being transferred to San Diego. He said his one and one-half years there was great (which isn’t hard to imagine!) As CHP officers are transferred from area to area they pick up many different ideas about people and their way of life in that particular city or community and that information is extremely valuable to them on a day-to-day basis, especially when they transfer to a different area.
The Arrowhead Area CHP officers who are assigned to this area have a large number of miles to patrol. Their service areas include all of Highways 18, 330, 138 and 38 from Crestline to Big Bear. It’s no wonder that it’s sometimes hard to get a CHP to a scene as quickly as people often want but they are apt to be driving across the rim from one end of the mountain to the other, which, even if you’re a CHP officer takes time.
The lieutenant has been very busy getting to know his new neighborhoods. Last week he attended a mixer at Snow Valley Mountain Resort that was sponsored by the Running Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. He thoroughly enjoyed himself, in a casual setting, and he talked with a lot of people who attended and were happy to meet him. He laughed a lot and learned a lot from “locals” and he has already proven himself to be approachable, he has a great laugh and is truly interested in our mountain communities.
Welcome to “our” neighborhood, Commander. Stick around for a long time!