hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


February 28, 2013

From typical Haverhill kid to California police chief

Local man becomes top cop in Inglewood, CA police department

It’s all about a local boy making good.

It’s a story that stretches 3,000 miles across the country to Inglewood, Cal., where the local boy — Mark Fronterotta of the Haverhill High Class of 1976 — became Inglewood’s 17th police chief this year.

After he served 31 years on the Inglewood police force, that city’s leaders decided Fronterotta was the person to lead the department.

For a local boy who was not sure of what he wanted to do after high school, Fronterotta cut his path in a career marked with purpose and interesting events.

Fronterotta’s service in his profession “included gang enforcement, narcotics, vice, and the Metro team. In 2001, following a decade of service to the Inglewood Police Department Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team, Fronterotta was selected as the Department’s SWAT commander,” said Inglewood Assistant City Manager Mike Falkow.

That was not Fronterotta’s plan when he finished high school in Haverhill.

“I did what most kids did after high school — I drifted around town and worked but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” he said. “I drifted around town, didn’t do much with myself. I looked at a couple of things, the military, different kinds of jobs. Nothing stuck, and I wasn’t doing anything with myself. After about a year of that, I figured I had to do something for myself and I started school.’’

After two years at Northern Essex Community College, he transferred to the Lowell University criminal justice program and graduated from there in 1981.

But at home in Haverhill, job prospects did not get any better.

“The cities and towns were going through the Prop. 2 1/2 thing, and the local economies were in tough shape,’’ Fronterotta remembered. “They were laying off cops and firemen, not hiring.’’

He looked at alternatives in law enforcement, but returned to his focus on entering a police force. He searched the state, even out of state and nationally. His calls and contacts lead him to openings on the west coast.

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