Saturday, 31 July 2004 17:00

Former FBI agent chosen by governor to head CA BAR

Written by Karyn Hendricks
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Ex-FBI agent Richard "Dick" Ross, 62, of El Dorado Hills, was sworn in as the new chief of the California Bureau of Auto Repair (BAR). Prior to this appointment, he served the state of California as an assistant team leader at the California Performance Review and as deputy commissioner of the Criminal Investigation Branch at the California Department of Insur-ance (DOI). He retired from a 30-year career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1997. 

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Ross brings a variety of skills to the BAR chief position. "I have been in an executive role in law enforcement over the last several years. I've become familiar with fraud laws on both federal and state levels - and have developed communication, organizational development and motivational skills along the way. I've gone from being a cop to a person who must manage and motivate an organization - whatever the objectives of that organization. My experience is not just in law enforcement, but in management as well," he stated.

While with the FBI Fraud division, Ross did some work with BAR, and has been aware of BAR and some of their investigative techniques and capabilities.

New BAR chief has interesting bio 

Before his retirement in 2003, Ross served as a Deputy Commissioner of the Criminal Investigation Branch at the California Department of Insurance. He began his career at California Department of Insurance 7 years ago as Deputy Commissioner of the Fraud Division.

While serving in this capacity, he was appointed Chief Executive of the 400-member peace officer branch responsible for enforcement of all criminal, civil, and regulatory insurance laws in California. He also expanded this department to 16 regional offices and implemented uniform statewide system for complaints, tracked accountability, investigative training programs and implemented award winning technological investigation and tracking database program.

After receiving his J.D. in 1966 from the University of Iowa, Ross was employed for more than 30 years as a Special Agent with the FBI. Among the various FBI positions he held during this time were: Assistant Special Agent in Charge - Tampa, Florida; Lake Placid 1980 Winter Olympic FBI Security Operations Coordinator; Supervisor of Investigations - Albany, NY; Supervisor FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC; FBI Special Agent in Los Angeles; and FBI Special Agent in charge in the Eastern District of California at Sacramento.

In this role, Ross established and directed the FBI Divisional strategic plan; led federal investigative, liaison and administrative operations in 34 northern and central valley California counties from Oregon to Bakersfield; allocated 210 personnel at nine locations to support and achieve diverse investigative programs; was responsible for budget formulations; and was the direct liaison with federal judiciary, United States Attorney and California Department of Justice. As an executive, Ross oversaw major investigative cases and operations, conducted press briefings and conferences and implemented training programs for state and local law enforcement through the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia.

Other activities and memberships include: member of the FBI National Academy Associates, the Federal Senior Executive Service, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Iowa State Bar Association, and the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI; Lecturer at U.C. Davis' College of Law, and Lecturer at CSUS, Criminal Justice Program.

Other goals include improving air environment and helping develop a situation where automotive technicians can advance in their chosen profession, and there will be an adequate supply of technicians to provide quality service to the consumer. "We can't send cars off-shore for repairs, so we have to make the best of what is here and sort out our differences," Ross declared.
"I've been in state service before, so I know a bit about how it operates. I also see my job from the perspective of a consumer. Every time I take out my wallet, I have the same experience as every other customer at the gas station, the supermarket, the home improvement store. I shop for bargains and understand what the consumer wants is a fair shake."

Family man

Ross is very proud of his family and the support they have given him over his career. His wife, Donna, works in the interior design field. Daughter Ashley works with Crate & Barrel. He likes to garden (but not do lawn work), relax with the family cat, and surprisingly, though surrounded by females, Ross is the family cook. He confessed to being intimidated by his car.

"My family has always come first and doesn't diminish my attitude toward my job. I think I have my priorities straight."


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