Newly promoted Sheriff’s Capt. Mary Campbell says she is right where she wants to be — at the command of the Los Angeles County Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station.
Campbell, 52, who was promoted to captain at the beginning of this month, arrived at the Marina Sheriff’s Station Monday, April 4th, to take over the position she has been aiming for since she joined the county Sheriff’s Department in 1970.
“It’s a 35-year career aspiration to be a station commander,” said Campbell, who lives in Whittier with her husband, Assistant Sheriff R. Doyle Campbell.
“It was a goal,” she says. “It was what I aspired to be and do.”
Campbell was a lieutenant for five years. She came to the Marina Sheriff’s Station from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.
Over more than three decades with the Sheriff’s Department, Campbell has advanced through the ranks of deputy, sergeant, lieutenant and captain by working in the sheriff’s patrol stations of Industry, Norwalk, Walnut and San Dimas.
She succeeded former Marina Sheriff’s Capt. Sam Dacus, who left the station to assume a new position with the Sheriff’s Department Court Services in the Central District.
“It’ll be hard shoes to fill,” Campbell said about replacing Dacus. “He’s a good friend and I’m delighted when he comes down and works with me on different projects.”
Dacus, who served as captain for three years at the Marina Station, said Campbell was a good choice for the next captain because of her desire for the job and extensive experience.
“She’s very enthusiastic about the job,” Dacus said. “She’s a good fit for the place.
“She has very valuable administrative skills that will be very beneficial to her in her new role.”
While Campbell said she was “elated” to be promoted to captain, she acknowledged that it was not a job that was handed to her.
“It was competitive,” she said about getting the promotion. “I had to compete with a sitting captain and I knew that I had to study hard.”
Campbell spent several days learning the Marina Station patrol area to prepare for the new job.
Campbell’s first week as the new commander of the Marina Station was “extremely busy.” Most of the time was spent getting to know sheriff’s deputies and meeting people of the community, which is a main responsibility of any captain, she said.
“You need to feel like you are part of the community you are serving because you will better understand what the problems are by getting to know the people of the community,” she said.
As the new captain of the Marina Station, Campbell is in charge of nearly 100 officers who patrol four separate communities, including Windsor Hills, Ladera Heights, View Park and Marina del Rey.
Each of the four communities is “special and unique,” with its own set of problems that requires the station’s attention, she said.
Although Marina del Rey has its share of criminal acts, Campbell said most of the crimes are committed by outside criminals who come into the area.
“Crime is usually not initiated here,” she said.
The Marina Harbor Patrol is part of the Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station.
One of the major problems Marina Station officers have to respond to in the Marina is water craft that are abandoned because the owners are unable to afford slip fees, she said.
Another concern for officers is having to rescue boaters who are caught in the water during rough conditions, she said.
Some typical crimes in the Marina include burglaries and automobile thefts in subterranean garages, she said.
Since taking over the command of the Marina Station, Campbell said she has learned that the officers serving the station are proud to be just where they are.
“There’s a personal satisfaction for them when they see they are making a difference,” she said.
As the Marina continues to grow and develop in the future, Campbell says a key focus for the Marina Station is to learn how to respond to the growing population and increasing traffic that comes with the buildup.
Now that Campbell has the role she says she always wanted, she looks forward to getting to know the people and becoming part of the community and its events, such as the Marina Holiday Boat Parade in December.
“I can’t wait to get out there with all the functions,” she said.
Campbell’s new position as captain will allow her to have the opportunity to give back to the community, but most of all, it is the culmination of a dream that is 35 years in the making.
“This is it,” she said. “This is what I wanted.”