CHIEF GERALD C. PITTENGER
Chief Pittenger was born in March of 1930 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He served in the U.S.
Navy as a Navy corpsman with the 1st Marine Division between 1949 to 1953. He married
Alice Hysom on July 6, 1951 at the Ranch House Chapel at Camp Pendleton, CA. He served
as a special deputy with the Santa Cruz County Sheriffs Office for eleven years before
starting the Scotts Valley Police Department in November 1966.
The city was started by a property owner's association. Their feasibility study indicated law enforcement would be provided by contract with Santa Cruz County for the first year of operation. The city would provide for its own police department after the initial year. The city incorporation passed with a small majority of votes. Opposition to incorporation was initiated via a lawsuit; however it was eventually defeated and incorporation went forward.
By the time the city was formed the city council and city administrator were not pleased with county services. The county advised the charge for the remainder of the year would cost $20,000. They borrowed this amount from a county bank to fund the rest of the city's operational expenses and obtained further funding from the state ($11,000) specifically earmarked for law enforcement. Scotts Valley Water District obtained ownership of an old motel which was used as their office space on Scotts Valley Drive. Office space was added to accommodate the city administrator and secretary, along with the council chambers. There was no designated police department facility.
Chief Pittenger was hired on November 1, 1966 with an initial budget of $11,000 which included his salary of $600 per month. He worked alone and on-call until the first officer was hired in July of 1967. On his first day, Chief Pittenger sat at the council table with police catalogs and bidding forms for initial equipment such as a patrol car. Mayor Bill Graham discovered Chief Pittenger was using his own vehicle for patrol. Believing the bidding process was too long he placed a call to Al Cheney Ford. The mayor told Al of their need and ordered a 1967 Ford Police Interceptor. The car was outfitted with lights, sirens, and other equipment and was driven to Scotts Valley by the Chief on December 24, 1966.
Throughout Chief Pittenger's tenure as the chief law enforcement officer in Scotts Valley he was responsible for the inception of numerous programs such as the department's juvenile program, motorcycle patrol, canine patrol, DUI task force, the investigations unit and reserve program.