Q&A: Get to know Tomball police Chief Jeff Bert

Jeff Bert took over as the police chief of Tomball in June 2020. (Chandler France/Community Impact Newspaper)
Jeff Bert took over as the police chief of Tomball in June 2020. (Chandler France/Community Impact Newspaper)

Jeff Bert took over as the police chief of Tomball in June 2020. (Chandler France/Community Impact Newspaper)

Jeff Bert took over as Tomball’s police chief June 29, 2020, after serving with the Los Angeles Police Department since 1996, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported. Bert replaced former Chief Billy Tidwell, who resigned in January 2020.

Bert served as a commander in the LAPD before coming to Tomball. He oversaw the risk management legal affair group, where he ensured the department's compliance with state laws and training changes.

In an interview with Community Impact Newspaper on Aug. 26, Bert shared about his experiences with LAPD and his transition to Tomball.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What did you do before you started with LAPD?


I grew up in Coos Bay, Oregon. It's a small logging and fishing town. In 1988, I graduated from high school and went to Boulder, Colorado, for most of my undergraduate degree. Then I went to junior year abroad. I had the opportunity to go study graduate work at St. Andrews in Scotland. I was an English major. I got a degree from Boulder in four years. In 1992-93 I went to D.C. at George Washington [University]. I was in their school of international affairs. It was a two-year master’s [degree]. I backed out of that master’s and went to King's College. I returned to the United Kingdom and got my master’s in English dramatic literature. I taught for a year at a community college up in Oregon while I applied to Ph.Ds and I got into a program at University of British Columbia for English literature. I drove up there and thought, "I don’t want five more years. I don’t want to write books." I’m kind of a dreamer. There’s a whole bunch of things I wanted to do in life, and being a cop was one of those resounding [things].

What did you learn from your time in Los Angeles?

I think the hallmark of the LAPD is professionalism. The men and women of the LAPD treat the job of law enforcement as a profession, not unlike a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher. That was the LAPD I walked into, absolutely with its flaws. Integrity and the reputation of a law enforcement agency takes a lifetime and a career and everyone to build, and it takes a moment and a couple of dirty cops to fracture and ruin. I really [came] here with the understanding that above all else, a law enforcement agency has to be a professional organization where our policies, our rules, our regulations for each other mean something beyond just "this badge is a symbol of my public faith." Professionalism is the thing that takes you from a rag-tag organization to being a leader. What that leadership in law enforcement means is having that compassion for people that you serve.

What brought you to Tomball?

I had no intention of retiring. I thought I’d be one of those guys who die in their chair as a two-star chief. I absolutely loved [LAPD], but late in 2019 my friend, [former Tomball City Manager] Rob Hauck, he had been my partner in LA, he reached out and said, ‘Hey I know Tomball is small. Would you be interested?’ I always knew I wanted to be a chief, and I had an inkling for the last couple of years that I didn’t want to be a chief in a huge town. I’ve done 25 years in a big city. I grew up in Coos Bay, Oregon. I’m OK with small towns.

What has your time in Tomball been like so far?

When I came here, I was told that it had been a very long time since a chief of police had been to a crime scene or been to a barricaded suspect or a bomb call. The men and women of Tomball Police Department understand community policing at its guttural level. What was challenging for me was some of the unawareness that some of the things we’re doing are tactically unsound and some of the things we’re doing are not best practices.

What are some of your priorities right now?

Tomball is going to have 2,200 new homes in the next few years. That’s three or four more people per house. So if you go from a population of 12,000 right now, in three years we may have 18,000 people living here. Crime will rise. I absolutely intend to ask a supportive council for more officers. As this city grows, I think it makes sense that the department grows. I really have focused on improving the technology we have. We need roads that are safe; we need roads that are maintained. I’m focusing on the traffic driving behaviors that cause very bad accidents.
By Chandler France

Reporter, Tomball/Magnolia

Chandler joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in June 2021 after graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Southern California, where he was the executive editor of Annenberg Media. He previously interned with the company in Gilbert, AZ and with the Beacon Project, an investigative reporting team in Los Angeles. Chandler is originally from Laguna Hills, CA.



MOST RECENT

Tomball City Council approved a development agreement with Lovett Industrial for 240 acres at Hwy. 249, Rocky Road Nov. 29. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
Tomball City Council approves development agreement for 240 acres at Hwy. 249, Rocky Road

City council also approved the first reading of rezoning of the property.

Occupancy surpassed 90% for office, industrial and retail properties. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Real estate at a glance: November occupancy surpasses 90% in Tomball, Magnolia

Occupancy surpassed 90% for office, industrial and retail properties in the Tomball and Magnolia areas as of mid-November, an increase year over year in all three sectors.

The median home price in the Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto area has risen considerably since last October. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Home sales, costs in Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto remain hotter than Greater Austin; Halal Guys opens in Pearland and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 29.

Montgomery County municipalities continue to receive increased sales tax allocations from the previous year as Texas recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jishnu Nair/Community Impact Newspaper)
Conroe receives over $6 million in November state sales tax allocations; Montgomery County cities show continual year over year growth

Montgomery County municipalities continue to receive increased sales tax allocations from the previous year as Texas recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

TxDOT will hold public meetings in December to discuss improvements to stretches of FM 1488 in Montgomery County. (Chandler France/Community Impact Newspaper)
TxDOT to hold public meetings to discuss FM 1488 improvements from I-45 to Mostyn Drive in early December

The meetings will be virtual with an in-person component, and the will discuss proposed improvements along FM 1488 from I-45 to Mostyn Drive in Montgomery County.

Commissioners on Nov. 22 voted to approve a density change to preliminary plans for The Preserve, a neighborhood that city documents said could include 565 single-family homes at the northeast corner of Teel and Panther Creek Parkways. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Neighborhood near PGA Frisco could see larger lots; ERCOT says Texas power grid ready for expected winter demand and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 24.

A health expert with Baylor College of Medicine provides advice to stay safe and healthy while celebrating Thanksgiving with family. (Karolina Grabowska/Pexels)
Baylor College of Medicine: Tips for staying safe and healthy this Thanksgiving as the pandemic continues

Check out some helpful advice from a medical expert on how to stay safe and healthy during Thanksgiving.

HCA Houston Healthcare Tomball announced its new chief medical officer, Dr. Mauricio Pinto, in a news release Nov. 23. (Courtesy HCA Houston Healthcare)
HCA Houston Healthcare Tomball names chief medical officer

HCA Houston Healthcare Tomball announced its new chief medical officer, Dr. Mauricio Pinto, in a news release Nov. 23. 

The Tomball shop is in the early stages of construction. (Courtesy Dutch Bros Coffee)
Dutch Bros Coffee confirmed for Tomball

The Tomball shop is in the early stages of construction.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sits beside Samsung CEO Dr. Kinam Kim as he announces the company is brining a $17 billion facility to Taylor. (Screnshot via KXAN)
Samsung makes it official: Announcement from Governor's Mansion confirms $17B facility coming to Taylor

Nearly a year after Williamson County officials began pitching Samsung to bring a megafacility to the area, the electronics giant has made it official.

Bill Curci is a chief operating partner for Shuck Me, a seafood restaurant in Fort Worth. (Bailey Lewis/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Fort Worth restaurant Shuck Me is fishing- and family-centric; a guide to Houston's 2021 Thanksgiving Day Parade and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 23.