Phil Gonshak

Hello CATO Members,

I hope this resume explains my background in greater detail, as it is my desire to gain your trust, confidence, and vote to become the future CATO Vice President of an already phenomenal organization. For nearly 17 years now, I have been heavily involved in and on two separate SWAT Teams in both Arizona and California. My first team was with the City of Tempe, Arizona, where all the basic elements of SWAT were taught to me. In 2005, while on the Tempe SWAT Team, I experienced an OIS that truly changed the trajectory of my role in the SWAT world. Undoubtedly, I worked harder to ensure if we ever had another OIS, the result would remain the same, where my tactical team and I went home unharmed. Eventually, I became a sniper for the team and wished to stay in that position for the rest of my career.

As a native of Phoenix, Arizona, I began my law enforcement career at the Tempe, Arizona, Police Department in 2000. After graduating the police academy, I served as a Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, Undercover Narcotics Detective, and SWAT Operator/Sniper. In 2007, my family became ill in Southern California, and I lateralled to the Seal Beach Police Department here in Orange County, California.

In the City of Seal Beach, our SWAT team is part of a regional group in Orange County, California, appropriately named the West County SWAT Team. After serving the City of Seal Beach as a patrol officer for a few years, I joined the West County SWAT Team as a Sniper and would eventually become one of the five SWAT Commanders several years later, before becoming Chief of Police in 2019. The West County SWAT Team is made up of nearly 60 operators, negotiators, and tactical dispatchers, from six different law enforcement entities; specifically, the City of Cypress, City of Westminster, City of Fountain Valley, City of Los Alamitos, City of Seal Beach, and a JPA titled the West Cities Communications Center.

I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, a POST Management Certificate, and a Masters Degree in Public Administration, all from California State University, Long Beach. Further, I am a graduate of the Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute’s Class #384, the Los Angeles Police Department/West Point Leadership Program, the California POST Executive Development Course, and the FBI National Academy’s Class #260. Lastly, I currently serve as an Adjunct Professor for both the Graduate Center of Public Policy and Administration at CSULB and for the Administration of Justice College at Long Beach City College.

I truly believe that my training, tactical experience, and formal education would serve CATO well if I was selected as the Vice President. My desire is to immediately assist CATO President Brent Stratton and the rest of the Board of Directors, with the growth of CATO into an even greater premier tactical officers’ association, not only in the state of California, but also throughout the entire United States. CATO should be the model that other state associations and police chiefs use as a training and information consortium. From an executive standpoint, and as a current member of the California Police Chiefs’ Association, it would be my goal to help bridge the gap between line level operators and command level decision makers.

Lastly, I’d like to thank you all for taking the time to review my resume, as I hope to hear from you soon.

Phil Gonshak

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