POMONA, Calif. (KABC) -- Michael Olivieri was 21 years old when he began his career with the Pomona Police Department. He has been leading the agency since December, and Thursday the word "interim" was removed from his title when he was officially sworn in as police chief.
"I'm blessed to be where I'm at. I'm humbled and I'm honored," Olivieri said in an interview with ABC7. "It's an extreme privilege. I really do see myself as accountable to the city, and I love and believe in this police department with all of my heart and soul."
The 49-year-old said he never planned on being chief of police but added that he has no intention of ever working for another department.
"We have a great community and great community support, and we're going to continue to build and nurture that," Olivieri said.
He said the department's statistics speak volumes about its community policing efforts. Pomona officers made more than 5,600 arrests last year and nearly 300 guns were taken off the streets.
The department's use of force is among the lowest among law enforcement agencies.
"For use of force that results in death -- four times in eight years," the chief said. "This department already understands that it only uses force when it is absolutely necessary."
The department of 166 sworn officers has also seen its share of tragedy.
In March, Officer Greggory Casillas was fatally shot and Officer Alex Nguyen was seriously wounded. Olivieri said his heart was broken by the deadly violence but insisted that, together, his treasured department will grow stronger.
"I'm so very proud of the way that this agency carried themself through this and all the emotions that come with it," he said. "They handled themselves with dignity and they continue to do that. And we're working through it together."
Michael Olivieri officially sworn in as chief of Pomona Police Department
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