HoC: Frank Montanez

Humans of Chaffey

Frank Montanez, Photo by Paris Barraza

Frank Montanez, Photo by Paris Barraza

Frank Montanez reveals, unlike other men on the job, he did not dream of joining law enforcement. Yet there he was, in uniform, sitting in his office.

Montanez is quick to add he did not know what he wanted to do in his early twenties. He worked full time as a Mechanic after he served in the Air Force. You would never know that if you listened to the 53-year-old Chief of Police of Chaffey Community College and Director of Public Safety :"I kind of just stumbled into it. I never, I never thought I would be doing this and kind of when I started doing it, it kinda felt like I was a natural for it, but it never even crossed my thought process in doing it you know. I did it on a whim.”

A self admitted jack-of-all-trades within the department, his responsibilities include managing the police department and maintain operational costs while tending to the concerns of faculty and staff. Aside from ensuring his officers are making their rounds around the campus, Montanez developed a program at Chaffey called H.O.P.E., or the Homeless Outreach and Practice Enforcement. Montanez calls himself and his staff "guardians of the campus", as opposed to the "social justice warriors" he sees the officers from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's department as. He explains working in Rialto and in San Bernardino, officers adopt this role because of the rampant crime, whereas at Chaffey, officers are focused on protecting students and faculty. He remarks that it is a "different policing philosophy". While only a year and a half into his position at Chaffey, Montanez is an experienced law enforcer.

He retired from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department after 27 years. He worked in the county jail system, patrolled the Morongo Basin, worked in criminal intelligence, narcotics and homicide units. Montanez is unique, as he has had a diverse career; Most officers do not have the opportunity to receive much exposure to other departments.

During the application process, Montanez did not think about the next step after each test he took. In fact, he was not the one to seek out an application in the first place :“There was a guy passing out applications, and I went, oh I can do that let me just fill it out you know, just on a whim, and oh nothing's going to ever happen with this and I forgot about it.”

For someone who did not intend to work in law enforcement, Montanez never left the field. After a friend notified him of the available position at Chaffey, he retired from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in favor of something more “up his alley”.

Known as the "community guy" back at the Sheriff's Department, it wasn't too difficult for Montanez to make the transition. Though it has only been a year-and-a-half since accepting the position, Montanez quickly discovered that Chaffey became a second family to him.