Robert H. Gustafson has been a California law enforcement professional for nearly 35 years, and is currently is his 31st year of dedicated service with the City of Orange. Following graduation from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Academy, Robert Gustafson served as a Police Officer with the Glendale Police Department. While employed in Glendale, he worked important assignments, including the Hillside Strangler Task Force and special units responsible for arresting high-risk felons. In 1979, Officer Gustafson joined the Orange Police Department and began his rise through the ranks.
While a captain with the Orange Police Department, Chief Gustafson commanded the Administrative, Investigative, and Patrol Divisions. As a captain in the Patrol Division, Chief Gustafson was responsible for the reorganization of the division’s service delivery, dividing the City into smaller districts in order to enhance the department’s community policing efforts and shorten response times. In the Investigative Division, he oversaw the implementation of the Youth Services Bureau and SHIELD program, providing one-stop resource referrals to children and families in need of further social assistance. This innovative approach to juvenile issues earned the Orange Police Department the prestigious “Community Oriented Policing Award” from the Orange County Human Relations Commission in 2001. And, in the Administrative Division, Chief Gustafson oversaw the police department’s $27 million budget, crime prevention, and hiring of Department personnel, as well as the city’s emergency and Homeland Security Operations.
Chief Gustafson is a past recipient of Department’s “Supervisor of the Year” award. This recognition is voted on by all members of the department and was received by Chief Gustafson in both 1998 and 1999. In 1997, Chief Gustafson was awarded the department’s “Award of Distinction” for meritorious service that is beyond expectations. In 2004, he was appointed as the Chief of Police for the Orange Police Department. In 2009, Chief Gustafson received the Spurgeon Award from the Boy Scouts of America. In addition, Chief Gustafson is the current president of the Orange County Chiefs’ and Sheriff’s Association.
Chief Gustafson possesses a Bachelor of Arts (magna cum laude) in behavioral science from Cal Poly Pomona, and a Master of Arts (with honors) in Public Administration from Cal State Northridge. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Golden West College and Chapman University. Chief Gustafson holds a second-degree black belt in Hapkido and instructs all levels of this martial art.