CBS LA's chief meteorologist, Josh Rubenstein, is exchanging the green screen for the thin blue line. He starts in September as the new public information director for the Los Angeles Police Department.
"I have always had a passion for public service," Rubenstein told LA Observed when I asked him to confirm the news I was hearing. "I am excited to make a career transition where I can make an impact by working with thousands of LAPD men and women who make Los Angeles a safer place to live."
Rubenstein has been with the CBS duopoly in Los Angeles (the network operates both CBS Channel 2 and KCAL Channel 9) since 1997. In addition to the weather reports, Rubenstein has reported news and human interest stories here and came from television stations in Illinois.
His CBS LA bio says that Rubenstein serves on the Los Angeles Police Department’s Community Police Advisory Board and participates in other community organizations. He is a pilot and a senior member of the Civil Air Patrol.
Going from the media to the LAPD is not the most common career route, but it happens. Mary Grady, the LAPD's public information director from 2001-2011, had been a reporter at CBS 2 and KCAL, as well as for KCOP Channel 13. Feature writer Brent Hopkins left the Daily News staff about ten years ago to enter the police academy, and after serving as a patrol officer he is now an LAPD detective. It has even worked the other way. Rod Bernsen was a sworn LAPD public information officer before he left the department to cover news and traffic for Fox 11 in Los Angeles.
But as far as I know, he is the first LA weatherman to move over to the LAPD. His time on the air has been shrinking as the time in front of the CBS green screens has increased for Evelyn Taft, who recently moved back to primetime, and Jackie Johnson. CBS LA also recently lost Rich Fields from the evening news on KCAL 9 and added longtime LA weather guy Garth Kemp in Taft's former early morning slot on Channel 2.
Coming in as an outsider and trying to function as an LAPD spokesman has to be a challenge. I suspect Rubenstein will be under scrutiny inside and outside the department, at least for a while. Andy Smith, the department's chief spokesman in recent years, left to become the police chief in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Rubenstein must be on a little pre-job change summer vacation. He tweeted yesterday from Boston: