In an interview with Pasadena Now during the Rose Parade new Police Chief Eugene Harris said he was committed to the Pasadena Way.
“Here we go, new year, new job, new attitude. I’m highly motivated to get it going,” Harris told Pasadena Now.
Harris comes to Pasadena from San Gabriel.
His first day leading the Department was Jan. 3.
“My feeling is the Pasadena way is the way to get it done,” Harris said. “We’re going to try and advance that and make things happen in this community to ensure that the quality of life, [and the things] bringing the community fear and those kind of issues are all taken care of and just really do our part to better the place. We’re trying to create that exciting quality of life here.”
The former US Marine, has spent 31 years in law enforcement. He started his career with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department before moving to police departments in Monterey Park and San Gabriel.
Harris currently serves as president of the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs’ Association, actively engaging in advancing the science and art of police administration and crime prevention. In this role, he is also involved in developing, teaching and disseminating best practices across numerous agencies.
Harris viewed the parade for the first time in person on Monday and spoke to many members of the department.
“I’ve had the opportunity to come in and talk to a whole bunch of folks from the police department that are out here doing a fabulous job early in the morning where it’s nice and cold,” Harris said. “So I’m starting to learn my way around, learn who’s who. I’m just kind of really glad just to be a part of it all. It’s a major, major endeavor that I’ve seen since I was a kid. I never had the opportunity to come out and enjoy it. This is my first time here, so a lot of firsts. I’m really happy to be a part of it. My wife and I are here just taking it all in.”
Harris is known for his work ethic and ambition. According to one media report, when he was asked by the Monterey Park Police Chief what job he’d like to hold in the department, Harris told the chief, “You’re in my seat.”
Harris received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in organizational management, and an additional master’s degree in law enforcement and public safety leadership at the University of San Diego. He has served on numerous professional organizations and authored a book entitled “The Zero Stress Zone, a Layman’s Guide to Stress Management.”
The City began the search for a new Chief after John Perez retired late last year.
Perez worked in Pasadena for more than 30 years.
After Perez left, Deputy Chief Cheryl Moody and Jason Clawson served as Interim Chiefs. Both applied for the permanent Chief’s position. Moody did not remain under consideration past the semifinal round, and Clawson was one of the finalists.
Clawson told Pasadena Now that he will be retiring at the end of January.
“I’m blessed that the city of Pasadena’s has taken care of me over the years,” Clawson said. “I have no regrets for anything that I have or haven’t done in the past. I have lots of great accomplishments I’m proud of.”