Calif. police chief to be director of a DOJ office
PASADENA, Calif. — Pasadena Police Department Chief Bernard Melekian was named on Monday as director of the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services by Attorney General Eric Holder.
Melekian, Pasadena's police chief since 1996, will begin his new duties in mid-to-late November, Holder said.
Melekian, who was in Denver at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference when Holder made the announcement, said it was "with a mixture of profound gratitude and sadness that I announce my intention to leave the city of Pasadena."
"The Pasadena Police Department has been on the cutting edge of community policing and has accomplished great things in the past 13 years," Melekian said.
"When I begin as director of the COPS Office, it is my intention to highlight the quality of life in our communities. I am truly excited about the opportunity to parlay 36 years of knowledge and experience in law enforcement to the national platform where model policing programs can be supported."
Holder said one of Melekian's most important missions "will be to help lead a drive to innovate in the area of law enforcement operations."
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said "with years of experience, Barney Melekian possesses the essential knowledge needed to serve in this new role as director of COPS."
"As chief of the Pasadena Police Department, Barney has worked day and night to protect his community and I am confident that he will continue to do the same on the national level," Schwarzenegger said.
Pasadena City Manager Michael J. Beck said "the leadership" Melekian "has shown at the police department and in the community will be missed tremendously."
The COPS Office is responsible for advancing the practice of community policing by the nation's state, local, territory and tribal law enforcement agencies through information and grant resources.
It awards grants to the agencies to hire and train community policing professionals, acquire and deploy cutting-edge crime fighting technologies, and develop and establish innovative policing strategies.
Funding also provides training and technical assistance to community members and local government leaders and all levels of law enforcement.
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