Pasadena City Manager Miguel Márquez has chosen San Gabriel Police Chief Eugene Harris to lead the Pasadena Police Department.
Harris will start with the City on Jan. 3. According to a statement released by the City on Monday.
Harris met local reporters on Monday. He is the department’s first African-American chief since Jerry Oliver led the department from 1991-1995.
“I am honored to be entrusted with this amazing opportunity and am humbled by the responsibility to our residents, visitors, and the men and women of our department,” said Chief Harris. “Together, we will continue to enhance the culture of proactive community policing and exceptional service to our stakeholders. I look forward to joining the Pasadena community and serving alongside the professionals of the Pasadena Police Department.”
Harris, a 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.
“Chief Harris is a well-known leader in law enforcement. His interpersonal and communication skills and his proven approach to proactive and community policing will bring about the effective implementation of ever-evolving best practices to keep our community safe,” said Márquez. “I am confident he will lead our peace officers with distinction and will become an invaluable member of the greater Pasadena community.”
The appointment is one of the most important decisions Márquez will make during his time as City Manager. He becomes the third consecutive Pasadena City Manager to choose a new chief.
Michael Beck selected Phil Sanchez for the position and Steve Mermell hired John Perez.
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.”
Harris replaces John Perez who left the department nearly one year ago after working 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.