With nearly 20 years of law enforcement experience under his belt, Glendale Police Chief Manny Cid stepped into his new role with ease back in January, but the city’s top cop said he has felt “humbled” to be chosen and welcomed by the community.
“What made coming to Glendale so appealing to me and what was right at the top of my driving forces of wanting to come here was really the strong partnership that this police department has with the community it serves,” Cid said, adding that upon jumping into his new role as chief, his number one priority was getting to know the community.
“I have really tried to take the better part of this first year to immerse myself in everything that is Glendale,” Cid told the News-Press, calling the department’s relationship with the community “a precious one. We have to work hard every day to earn it and preserve it at every turn.”
Cid emphasized the importance of reaching out to all parts of the city to learn what is important to Glendale as a whole and what the priorities are of different communities. With all that Glendale has to offer, Cid joked that taking in the entire community has “oftentimes felt like drinking water out of a firehose.”
His efforts to engage with the city have not gone unnoticed, including by City Councilmembers.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so proud to have a chief in our city,” Councilwoman Elen Asatryan said during an August City Council meeting. “I see you out in the community and how involved you are, and it feels like everyone from different groups has embraced you and I think it has a lot to do with your human approach and your leadership style.”
Raised in Southern California in Downey and Long Beach, Cid was athletic growing up, going on to play as wide receiver for the Whittier College football team, where he earned a bachelor’s in political science. He later earned a master’s in public administration and organizational leadership from National University.
During his long history with the Culver City Police Department, where he served as chief prior to coming to the GPD, he worked in a variety of divisions such as patrol, investigations and narcotics. Cid noted he sees himself as “a product of many different experiences,” highlighting his identity as a first-generation Cuban American and raised by immigrant parents in a low-income environment.
Cid began his last role as police chief in Culver City amid a “unique and really tough time” throughout the nation during May 2020, citing the uncertainty around COVID, a politically charged society surrounding the presidential administration and the murder of George Floyd.
“Everything that proceeded the murder of George Floyd throughout that entire summer was an incredibly pivotal time for law enforcement,” Cid said. “At a time when I was literally stepping in to be the new police chief, I really had to learn how to swim quickly essentially.”
From this experience, Cid learned just how important it is to maintain a trusting relationship between law enforcement and the community.
“It was incredibly important in the weeks, months and even years following George Floyd to reestablish trust and legitimacy, and engage folks in our community, engage segments of our community that maybe our profession hadn’t engaged in the past.”
With this in mind, Cid pointed toward the measures of accountability the Glendale Police Department employs to ensure transparency with the community they serve. This includes body cameras as well as constant, internal auditing.
Throughout his career, one thing Cid has noticed is a “significant shift” in police departments’ attitudes toward mental health over the last decade, saying historically, the culture surrounding the profession frowned upon those who sought mental health help. Now, however, many police departments prioritize mental health, including GPD, which has developed a peer support group over the last few years.
“Our peer support group is our tip of the spear, outward facing for all our staff to be that caveat, those facilitators, those go-betweens with our staff and the service that they might need, be it mental health services, wellness services, substance abuse services, on and on,” Cid said.
Through the Officer Wellness and Mental Health Grant Program, which was created by Assembly Bill 178 in 2022, the GPD recently received $162,884 from the Board of State and Community Corrections. Cid explained that this money has gone toward sending the department’s peer support staff to extensive training with clinicians and will also be used to send staff to a peer support national conference to further develop their skills.
While Cid commends the progress that has been made surrounding mental health, he notes there is still more work to be done, noting high rates of suicide within law enforcement professions.
Just this week, three current employees and one former employee of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department died by suicide.
“It’s a tough job,” Cid said. “As a man or woman in this profession, you’re going to see a lot of difficult things, things that don’t ever leave you and you carry that with you.”
Since his time with the GPD, a major challenge Cid had to tackle was dealing with the flash mob robbery at The Americana at Brand, which resulted in losses of approximately $400,000 in stolen merchandise.
Partnering with the Organized Retail Task Force, formed by the Los Angeles Police Department and using Flock Safety cameras, Cid and the GPD were able make swift arrests following this incident.
“Chief Cid has advanced policing in Glendale with his forward-thinking vision for the future of law enforcement,” Sgt. Victor Jackson, the department’s public information officer, said in a statement to the News-Press. “Cid is poised to usher in a new era of innovation, enhancing safety in Glendale and making sure we meet the expectations of the Glendale community.”
The most urgent challenge the department is facing is staff shortage, according to Cid, who described significant vacancy rates throughout GPD.
“Our staffing challenges have a trickle-down effect on our response, the ability to maintain high levels of service to fight crime, as well as to take care of our staff that is here,” Cid said. “And when you’re having to do more with less, over time, that will start to wear down on the staff that’s here.”
Cid does feel confident that the department is turning a corner with staffing, noting a dozen people enrolled in the community academy this year and potential hiring incentives to join the department.
Aside from running the police department, the chief said he enjoys all things outdoors, especially Glendale’s hiking trails. Though he left his football days on the field in college, Cid still considers himself an “avid sports fan,” and frequently cheers on the USC Trojans and the San Francisco 49ers.
First published in the November 11 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.