2010-12-03 / Front Page
Rouse ready for next assignment
Former Moorpark police chief closing door on VCSD career
Throughout his childhood in Malibu, up until his graduation from the police academy in 1979, Rouse set goals that kept him on the path to becoming a peace officer.
“Even during the rock and roll era,” said Rouse about staying on the straight and narrow, “my friends always accepted it and I never took any heat from anybody. It was common knowledge that ‘Marty wanted to be a police officer.’ That desire never changed.”
Today, the Moorpark resident, who preferred not to give his age, considers himself blessed for spending the past three decades working in the career of his dreams.
And after 32 years of service with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, including a stint as Moorpark’s police chief, Rouse will put a fulfilling and successful career behind him at the end of this month when he retires as chief deputy of support services.
“It’s just been a fantastic experience,” he said. “It’s the best career anybody could ever have, in my mind. It’s been a real adventure for me.”
Rouse graduated with a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice from California Lutheran University in 1978. After college, he immediately went into officer training with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.
Ventura County Sheriff Bob Brooks met Rouse as a college student.
“He recognized me and he came up and introduced himself,” Brooks said. “I was immediately impressed by his enthusiasm and attitude about going to the police department.”
By 1979, Rouse was patrolling the streets of Moorpark.
“I’ve had the opportunity to see Moorpark grow from a very small, rural area, to the wonderful community it is now,” Rouse said. “I remember when there were no Mountain Meadows or (shopping centers). It was just a little Peach Hill and the old downtown.”
In 1985, Rouse and his wife, Jane, settled in Moorpark. There they raised their three children— Christopher, 25; Brian, 23; and Kelsey, 13—and Jane still teaches in the Moorpark Unified School District.
Peace on the streets
While living in Moorpark, Rouse rapidly climbed the ranks of the sheriff’s department. He was a detective from 1987 to 1994. Then he took the big job as Moorpark’s police chief—a position he held until 1997.
Capt. Ron Nelson, the current Moorpark police chief, remembers what it was like being Rouse’s subordinate.
“Marty was always a person who pushed you to grow,” Nelson said. “He’s a great delegator. He gave us extra tasks to do so we could learn and grow and develop our skills.
“He definitely has a gift for motivation. He was a very encouraging person to work for.”
On one quiet Friday night in 1994, when Rouse was still a sergeant and Nelson was a detective, the two decided to go on patrol to “find some bad guys,” Nelson said.
“We met up with a senior deputy, who asked, ‘What are you guys doing out here? It’s quiet!’” Nelson recalled. “We told him, ‘We’re good cops and we’ll find something.’”
The senior deputy made a bet with the pair and promised to buy them dinner if they made a “good arrest,” Nelson said.
Rouse and Nelson went on undercover patrol and drove toward High Street in Moorpark, where they spotted a group of five teenagers loitering in the parking lot of the Tipsy Fox grocery store.
After running standard checks on the teenagers, they learned that one had been reported as a runaway from the state of Oregon. When they called the kid’s parents, they ended up speaking to a detective, who told them to take all five teenagers into custody.
“It turned out that those five kids were heading to Mexico because they had murdered a 102-year-old man,” Nelson said. “They had done a burglary in a little town in Oregon. The man was sleeping in his easy chair, and he had been bludgeoned to death.”
The sheriff’s ladder
In 1998, Rouse was promoted to a commander in the court services bureau, where he was responsible for security operations and transportation throughout the county prison system.
By 2000, he was commander in charge of both East and West County patrol.
When former President Ronald Reagan was buried in June 2004 at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Rouse helped coordinate security for the funeral.
“It was called ‘Operation Serenade— A Farewell to President Ronald Reagan,’” Rouse said. “It was truly government at its best. We had to prepare for traffic, demonstrations and the possibility of large-scale terrorism, all the while maintaining sensitivity and being prepared for the media input that was going to take place.”
Rouse considers Reagan’s funeral to be the most significant event of his career.
From 2006 to 2008, Rouse was commander in charge of professional standards, where he oversaw internal affairs and the sheriff’s academy.
And for the last two years of his career, Rouse has been a chief deputy in the support services division of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department—an executive office position.
Sheriff Brooks, who is also retiring at the end of the month, said Rouse will be “sorely missed.”
“It’s been 30 years and he still exhibits the same level of enthusiasm that impressed me years ago,” Brooks said. “He’s been a commander at a lot of our critical incidents. He’s developed an area of expertise that is really impressive, one that I can count on.”
Now that Rouse is getting ready to leave the department, he said he’s not quite ready to be a fulltime retiree.
“I’m definitely going to regroup,” he said. “I plan to teach a little bit. I’m not sure yet. It’s a leap of faith, and retirement is going to be a great adventure.”
An active member of the Moorpark Presbyterian Church, Rouse said he would continue to be involved in his community. He’s also looking forward to spending more time with his kids, particularly his 13-year-old daughter.
Ultimately, Rouse believes he’s lucky for having the opportunity to be a part of the sheriff’s department.
“It’s been more than I ever expected,” he said. “I’m leaving the profession with 32 years of wonderful, wonderful memories.
“I just can’t say enough about how much the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department has provided me with so many opportunities to grow—as a professional and as a person. I will always be indebted to the department.”