Q: I understand we have some changes within the Neighborhood Resource Officer Program. I have had a very helpful relationship with my NRO and I am wondering who the new officers are and what area they are assigned to?

A: For those of you that don’t know what the Neighborhood Resource Officer Program is about I will give you a brief summary of what we do. The program was started by Police Chief Tim Jackman who wanted to have a veteran officer assigned long term to each of the eight beats. The goal is to be the go-to-face of our department, serving as a liaison between the residents and business. We are here for you to solve longer-term problems such as blight or chronic crime and to build relationships and accountability.

Since the inception of the NRO Program four years ago, Officers Joe Cortez and Robert Lucio have provided their neighborhoods with the highest quality law enforcement services, passion, and abilities. Their open communication with the residents and merchants helped enhance the quality of life in their beats and set a standard for the program. Officer Cortez has earned a new assignment as a motor officer and Officer Lucio has been assigned to a new position where his skills will continue to benefit the Santa Monica Police Department and the City of Santa Monica. Both of these officers will be missed, but I know new Neighborhood Resource Officers Ricky Verbeck and Scott McGowan will continue with the excellent service Officers Cortez and Lucio provided.

I am excited to introduce the new officers to you for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that I know they are motivated about their new position and eager to help. The other reason is that Officer Verbeck, Officer McGowan, and I have known each other since first grade where we all attended Roosevelt Elementary School. The three of us grew up together in the city we serve and are now working together in a detail that allows us to take even more ownership and personal commitment to the neighborhood.

Let me introduce Officer Richard Verbeck, your new Beat 4 Neighborhood Resource Officer. Beat 4 is the area south of Montana Avenue to Interstate 10 and from 20th Street to Ocean Avenue, excluding Downtown. Officer Verbeck brings a dynamic combination of approachability and hard work to the team. Having grown up in Santa Monica since the young age of 5, Richard (aka Ricky) knows what it’s like and takes pride in being a true resident of our great city. He attended Roosevelt Elementary, Lincoln Middle School, “Little” St. Monica’s, St. Monica High School and Santa Monica College.

Officer Verbeck has 10 years of patrol experience with several collateral assignments. Along with his current assignment as a Neighborhood Resource Officer, he is also a member of the Santa Monica Mounted Unit. His former assignments include being a member of the department’s Defensive Tactics Unit, Crime Impact Team and Field Training Officer.

Officer Verbeck’s sense of humor, dedication and persistent nature works hand in hand with the continued partnership of the Santa Monica Police Department and the members they serve.

If you see him walking your beat, take a moment to say hi and introduce yourself. If you have any concerns (no matter how small or how big) you can reach out to him, I know he’ll do everything possible to help.

I would now like to introduce you to your new Beat 6 Neighborhood Resource Officer, Scott McGowan. Beat 6 is the area east of 20th Street to the eastern city limits and Montana Avenue to the 10 freeway.

Officer McGowan is extremely excited to become your New beat 6 NRO. Like I said before, he was raised in Santa Monica and was a resident of Beat 6 for many years. He attended Roosevelt Elementary School, Lincoln Middle School and graduated with Officer Verbeck from St. Monica Catholic High School. He obtained his associate of arts degree from SMC in business administration.

Officer McGowan began his career with the SMPD in 2000 as a police cadet. In 2005, Scott was hired as a police officer and attended the Orange County Sheriff’s Academy where he obtained his basic training. After working three years in patrol, he was selected to become a Third Street bicycle officer in 2009. During his tenure as a bicycle officer, Scott was assigned to Downtown and was an ambassador to visitors from all over the world. Scott is also a member of the Crime Impact Team, where we eliminate specific crime trends by utilizing different resources.

Officer McGowan is eager to work with the community addressing your issues and solving them as quickly as possible so we can protect our beat’s quality of life together. Please always feel free to contact him with any questions or concerns.

Beat 4 Neighborhood Resource Officer Verbeck can be reached at (424) 200-0684 or by e-mail at richard.verbeck@smgov.net.

Beat 6 Neighborhood Resource Officer Scott McGowan can be reached at (424) 200-0686 or by e-mail at scott.mcgowan@smgov.net.

This column was prepared by NRO Scott McGee (Beat 5: Montana Avenue to north city limits, Ocean Avenue to 26th Street). He can be reached at (424) 200-0685 or scott.mcgee@smgov.net.