Former Long Beach Police Chief Jerome E. Lance died Saturday after battling cancer, the Long Beach Police Department said in a statement . He was 72 years old.
Lance served the LBPD for 38 years, beginning in 1964 and working various assignments at all ranks before being promoted to chief of police in 1999, according to a release.
While chief of the police department, Lance dealt with multiple challenges, such as Y2K, the aftermath of Sept. 11 and the deaths of four officers.
Under his leadership, the department saw the construction of a new communications center, relocation of the crime lab, and the upgrading of the police academy, the release said.
Lance also helped increase security duties at the airport and harbor, helped with the purchase of two new helicopters, and the implementation of the first boat patrol unit in the history of the LBPD.
He was also known as a mentor to many in the department, including current Chief Robert Luna.
“Working around him literally was like going to school every day,” Luna said. “He would give me homework assignments and he’d send me on these little missions and he kind of knew the answers but it was all about teaching me how to do the research, how to develop relationships, how to get things done in an administrative way.”
The skills Lance taught Luna while he worked as his administrative sergeant when Lance was deputy chief of investigations in the mid-1990s serve Luna to this day, he said.
Described as a quiet and private man, Luna said Lance was very good at connecting with people on a one-on-one basis.
Luna also remembered him as an excellent manager, skilled at budgeting, planning, technology and focusing on juveniles.
Though Lance retired from the LBPD in 2002, he continued in law enforcement as interim police chief for the Oceanside Police Department for a few months in 2005. He also headed the California State University, Long Beach Center for Criminal Justice in 2003 and continued to consult in the law enforcement community until 2014, the release adds.
Luna said Lance continued giving advice as well. He said one of his last conversations with Lance took place after taking office as chief of police.
“He wanted to talk to me about being a chief,” Luna said. “That was his natural thing, he wanted to put his arms around me, give me advice about inter-department workings, the politics, just everything that goes along with being an effective chief.”
Lance is survived by his wife Margaret “Bunny” Lance, his sister Patricia “Pat” Chapman, his daughter Pamela Jane Crandall, her husband Brett and children Mackenzie and Brayden, and his son LBPD Sgt. Darren Jerome Lance, his wife Nancy and their daughter Sierra, along with many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held for Lance at the LBPOA Park on Sunday, August 9 at 1:00PM. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in his honor to either of the following:
Long Beach Police Officers Widows and Orphans Trust Fund c/o
2865 Temple Avenue
Long Beach, California 90755
Law Enforcement Cancer Support Foundation
6475 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 354
Long Beach, CA 90803
Above, left photo courtesy of the LBPD.