John Perez, Chief, Pasadena Police Department
Since 2018, John E. Perez has served as Chief of Police for the City of Pasadena (CA) after beginning his career as a police cadet in 1985. Through the years, he has worked at the various ranks and command structures of the Department. His public safety experience includes specialized assignments in gang/narcotic enforcement, SWAT, administration, and community relations. In 2001, immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, John was tasked with forming a Counter-Terrorism Intelligence Unit where he worked with a small group of officers in developing security & safety plans for the Tournament of Roses Parade, Rose Bowl venue, and citywide special events.
In 2020, just prior to the pandemic, the leadership team led the Department through an organizational restructure, bringing more officers to patrol, increasing specialized assignments, and eliminating antiquated models of policing. These new approaches involved redirecting calls for service to non-profits, redesigning the neighborhood policing model, and developing a use of force and performance initiative with BWC video. These changes included an immersive training model utilizing a unique debriefing approach with peers and subject matter experts for self-improvement and skill development. In the first 18 months, this approach assisted in decreasing the use of force by over 20% and reducing specific types of force applications by over 50%. To further the efforts of the reorganization, the leadership team worked with the Pasadena Police Officers Association and community partners to increase awareness through educational workshops such as “Policing 101” and “Community Conversations”. In 2019, a Chief’s Advisory Board was established and is comprised of community oversight organizations and public advocate groups to increase public transparency and understanding. The PPD also improved its recruitment and retention of personnel, hiring over 60 officers since 2018 while enhancing internal training, equipment and technology throughout the Department. The operational philosophy of the PPD is centered on community policing and building partnerships with a focus on prevention, intervention, and enforcement to reduce all crime and gang activity.
Chief Perez is a graduate of the California POST’s Supervisor’s Leadership Institute (SLI), POST Executive Command College, and holds a POST executive certificate. He possesses an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice, a Master’s of Science degree in Behavior Science, and a PhD in Public Administration. He is a board member if the California Police Chiefs Association, National Police Foundation, and serves as the current President of the San Gabriel Valley Police Chief’s Association. He is the recipient of Mayor’s Special Service Award and a two-time recipient of the Chief’s Excellence in Policing award.