On Jan. 26, San Dimas City Manager Chris Constantin announced Walid Ashrafnia would be the new captain of the San Dimas Sheriff’s Station. Ashrafnia previously served as operations lieutenant for four years.
“I was raised here in San Gabriel Valley. I very much intimately know the job, and I love working in San Dimas because we have a great community that supports the sheriff’s department,” Ashrafnia said.
Constantin said a panel, which included the mayor and city manager, interviewed five individuals for the position and unanimously selected Ashrafnia as the top candidate.
“He has a high level of public engagement, which is what I saw immediately coming as a new city manager. That impressed me. … I think he will do very well by our community,” said Constantin during the Jan. 26 council meeting.
San Dimas Councilmember Denis Bertone also believes Ashrafnia is “well-connected to the community.”
“He seems very aware of what’s happening within the town,” Bertone said.
Ashrafnia has been a member of law enforcement for more than a decade, but this was not his first professional job. An alumnus of Rosemead High School and a graduate of Cal State Los Angeles, he holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a graduate degree in public administration.
Ashrafnia was a man looking for purpose in his 9-to-5 career. He said a conversation with a friend who was a deputy sheriff influenced him to make a career move.
“I wanted to do something where I can influence and serve other people,” said Ashrafnia.
Ashrafnia insists that the power of community involvement is a force multiplier to combat crime. He prefers a low crime rate over a high arrest rate. He also enjoys getting to know all groups within the community, from businesses to the local youth. Pre-COVID-19, Ashrafnia was active in the local little league through coaching and mentoring young children.
“It’s always good to know that the person you’re working for is very interested in doing the right thing and making sure that if there’s some problem that’s developing, he is ahead of it,” said San Dimas Sergeant Matthew Bodell.
Ashrafnia is optimistic about what he can accomplish as captain. He believes spending time to partner with the community is important and that looking out for each other is key.
“The key is community conversation,” Ashrafnia said.
For example, since catalytic converter crimes have tripled in San Dimas since January, Ashrafnia’s department engaged the community in a Catalytic Converter Etch & Catch Event, hosted in collaboration with Sanders Lock and Key and the city.
During this local event, 87 community members had their catalytic converters etched with a unique identifying number to act as a theft deterrent.
The sheriff’s station plans to do more Catalytic Converter Etch & Catch events and encourages the community to stay in touch via Instagram and Facebook for more crime prevention and community-related events.
“My job is to ensure the community knows that we have their best interest at heart,” Ashrafnia said. “If you come through for the community, they’ll come through for you.”
Disclaimer: Isabel Ebiner, managing editor for the San Dimas Community Post and daughter-in-law of Councilmember John Ebiner, edited this story for AP Style.