Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melekian retired this week to run a key Justice Department program, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday.
Melekian headed the Pasadena Police Department since 1996, and leaves his city beat to head the Community Oriented Police Services program, known as COPS, The LA Times reported. COPS is responsible for advancing community policing by law enforcement agencies through information and grant resources. Under the stimulus, the program received $1 billion to hire additional career law enforcement officers.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced Melekian’s appointment to the head of COPS at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference, held in Denver on Monday.
“Because Bernie comes from your ranks, you can be certain that he shares your goals and understands your needs. And I know that he will be a tremendously effective link between Washington and the cities and towns where you serve,” Holder said, according to his remarks as posted on the Department of Justice’s Web site.
Melekian is known in Pasadena for shepherding the department’s investigation of a Halloween triple homicide, which ended up causing the department to reevaluate its approach to gang crime, the newspaper said. The LA Times credits Melekian for a sharp decrease in gang-related homicides in Pasadena.
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