Karen Car Owens was relatively new to her career at Long Beach Police Station when Commander Tony Butts, who would later become Police Chief, called her to his office.
“Did I do something wrong?” She thought for herself.
No, she didn’t.
In fact, Owens was doing so many things right that Butts was trying to make her the first private sector to process public information in the department. Until then, in 1993, the police officers who entered and left the mission in about two years were doing public relations work. It was a historic moment, and Owens became the public voice of the police station and faced 30 years in one of the city’s most difficult and demanding jobs.
Last week, more than 200 colleagues, friends, family and government officials celebrated his many years of service at a retirement party at the Long Beach Marriott hotel.
“This participation is incredible proof of what you have done to make Karen and the community better,” said Wally Hebeish, Long Beach Police Chief, to great applause.
State Congressman Patrick O’Donnell told Owens, “Acknowledge all that you have done to keep us safe. “
On a personal note, O’Donnell also said he wanted to thank Owens for his help. His brother, a police sergeant, Tim died suddenly in 2004 at the age of 36 on his way home from a health problem.
“When Tim died our world was turned upside down,” O’Donnell said. “You planned the service for hours with us and helped us through this greatest family tragedy. It made a lot of sense to my family.
Bruce McRae, vice president of government for UPS and former president of the Long Beach Police Foundation, said love was everything that night.
“You have had a huge impact on the community and the police,” he said.
Steve Brown, pastor of California Heights Baptist Church and owner of a video production company, thanked Owens for his integrity and for “doing the right thing.”
“You taught me the importance of taking care of people,” Brown said. “You are the leader that people follow. “
In a moving farewell, Owens said, “I have had a wonderful career that has changed my life on a path that didn’t even exist before.”
Owens and Niker were born in West Germany in 1967 and their father was in the United States military. She moved to Long Beach at the age of one, graduated from Millican High School, and received a criminal justice degree from California State University Long Beach in 1991.
She became interested in public relations early on, so she decided to combine it with her interest in the operation of criminal justice in the community.
The opportunity arose in 1990 when she began working for the Long Beach Police as a police department assistant in a business office. She moved to the community relations department’s security unit, then held an important meeting with Butts.
“He said he wanted to take a non-traditional look at dealing with the general public in the public relations department,” Owens said. “He also wanted consistency with the PIO leader, not the rotation system.”
In 1999, Owens was promoted to director, joined the staff and managed the community relations, human resources and community engagement departments.
She became the longest-serving civilian at HQ.
From day one, as head of the public relations department, Owens said he wanted to make sure the information he released was timely and factual.
“My goal was to tell the facts of the story accurately and fairly without compromising the investigation,” she said. “The work has become even more difficult and a lot of false information has been spread on social media. There are a lot of emotions on both sides, especially in the shootings involving police officers. We have always tried to deal with the facts. “
At the same time, she participates in the training of police officers and the monitoring of commanders, responds to a certain extent to the general public, particularly with regard to ongoing investigations and privacy laws, and makes available the more information possible. I mentioned the importance of doing.
I asked her how she dealt with the occasional tension between the media and the police.
“I have always worked hard to establish a respectful relationship with the media,” she said. “I learned a lot from journalists and detectives. If I had a problem with a headline on inflammation that didn’t match the reporter or the article, I would feel free to call and speak to the person responsible.
When I was the editor and chief editor of Press Telegram, I realized that Owens was always listening to any issues we had getting information from the police on the main story. paddy field.
In addition to PIO duties, Owens involves police stations, from Shop With a Cop to Police Explorer Post, to the development of the Community Police Academy, which helps residents understand what police officers face on the job. I have participated in many activities. .. She has also worked with the Police Foundation to raise funds to help police officers with training, technology and community engagement initiatives for a safer Long Beach. Owens said Leadership Long Beach has helped him develop his leadership skills.
“I was a Class of 1997,” Owens said. “I learned a lot and made so many connections in the community. “
Owens is proud to have contributed to the growth and building of media teams within police stations and to influence transactions with the general public in government agencies, in many of his careers. He said he was thinking.
“Thirty years ago we heard a lot of ‘no comment’ from the police,” she said. “We’re not perfect right now, but we’ve come a long way day and night dealing with the general public. We now share information better and hope that it will grow. I hope. We feel that we have really made progress in improving our relationship with the community. We want to make it my legacy. “
After his retirement, Owens plans to work 24/7, then travel and spend more time with his family. She and her husband, Rob Owens, married in 1996, are engaged in the industrial packaging business and have a son, Drew, 19, a student at Long Beach City College. Her mother is a retired Long Beach teacher.
Her father died of a heart attack in June.
“One of the things I’ve learned from my job is that tragedy can always strike,” Owens said. “We have to make the most of every moment every day. “
Karen Kerr Owens Retires From One of Long Beach’s Toughest Jobs – Press Telegram Source Link Karen Kerr Owens Retires From One of Long Beach’s Toughest Jobs – Press Telegram