Search for New Pasadena Police Chief Narrows to 4 Candidates

Published : Monday, November 26, 2018 | 6:19 AM

Pasadena’s nationwide search for a new police chief has been narrowed to four candidates, and a choice is expected to be made by early next year, city officials said.

The more than 200 officers of the Pasadena Police Department have been without a permanent leader since former Chief Phillip Sanchez retired in April. John Perez has served as Interim Chief since. He previously served as Deputy Chief.

City officials announced they had hired a recruiting firm to help with the search in September, then held a series of community meetings and created an online survey to gather public input.

About two-dozen applications for the position were submitted, City Manager Steve Mermell said last week.

“The search firm developed an initial assessment of the candidates, identifying a tiered group of the top eight,” Mermell said. “Following a review with the City Manager and Director of Human Resources, four candidates were selected to move forward in the process.”

All four candidates currently serve in law enforcement agencies with the rank of commander or higher, “and represent a broad array of assignments in their respective management careers,” Mermell said.

The identities of the finalists have not been disclosed.

Only two candidates identified themselves in announcements to the media during the process.

One was Interim Chief John Perez himself, who in early August said after several months as Interim Chief that his leadership had “been positive and has momentum, so my decision to apply for the position is based on the current efforts being accomplished by so many people,” Perez told Pasadena Now.

His work, Perez said, seemed “unfinished, with more to do.”

Perez confirmed early Monday morning that he is among the four finalists.

The only other announced candidate was Dr. Phlunte Riddle, a former Pasadena Police Lieutenant who was Adjutant to Chief Sanchez.

On Sunday, Riddle said she is no longer under consideration by the City for the Chief’s position.

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

Riddle said she remains “extremely appreciative of all the calls, emails and Facebook posts in support of my desire to serve our wonderful city as Chief of Police.”

Pasadena’s City Manager has the ultimate authority to select the new chief under the city’ charter.

Mermell said he plans to form a panel of community members to interview the four candidates in December. An additional round of interviews with Mermell and other “key executive staff” will follow before a selection is made in January. The interview process will be conducted in private.

Teri Black & Company, LLC. is the firm that conducted a thorough national recruitment effort, officials said.

Community feedback provided through three meetings, as well as the online survey, helped the city craft its job posting, “and assisted the recruiter in identifying potential candidates who would be good fits for the city,” according to Mermell.

The City Manager currently anticipates making the announcement in January, a City spokesperson said.