The search for the city’s next police chief has been narrowed down to four finalists.

According to City Manager Steve Mermell, all four of the candidates are serving at a commander level or above in their respective departments.

“I’m very honored to be considered for the position,” said Interim Police Chief John Perez, who confirmed he is a finalist.

The names of the other finalists could not be confirmed before the Pasadena Weekly went to press.

Former police Lt. Phlunte Riddle, who once served as the chief’s adjutant, was eliminated from the process without receiving an interview, despite serving on the force for 28 years before retiring in 2012.

“It goes without saying that I am disappointed by the decision to not allow me an interview for the position,” Riddle said. “Not only am I qualified and have the equivalent experience per the job description, but I know I would have made a significant contribution to the Police Department and the Pasadena community at large.”

In December, the candidates will undergo another round of interviews by a panel of community members, followed by an additional round of interviews with Mermell.

Perez, 52, has served with the department since 1988. He took over as chief temporarily with the retirement of former Chief Phillip Sanchez in April. Perez, a commander, has a master’s degree in behavioral science and a doctorate in public administration.

Since taking over, he has made several moves that have been lauded by many in the community. Under Perez’s leadership the department added to the body-worn camera policy to allow the release of footage of critical incidents no more than 45 days following an incident.

In July, Perez named a community advisory committee which includes some of the department’s staunchest critics. That committee will re-evaluate changes to the body-worn camera policy.

So far this year there have been 14 use-of-force incidents, compared to 26 at this time in 2017.

Along with fewer force-related encounters, the number of citizen complaints about police use of force has also dropped, from 19 at this time last year to six this year.

 

  André Coleman