When Pasadena Chief of Police Phillip L. Sanchez announced his retirement, effective April 18, John Perez was the choice of City Manager Steve Mermell and the choice of the new Chief is solely up to Mermell. It is known throughout City insiders that Mermell wants Paeez to continue on as Chief but is Perez the right person for the job is what we question in Northwest Pasadena because there is another very viable candidate in Phulnte Riddle.
Personally, I have spoken to both of them and I like them both.
Phlunte holds an MA degree in Organizational Leadership from Woodbury University and a BS degree in Public Administration from the University of La Verne. She is also a graduate of California Command College, Class 40 and a graduate from the FBI National Academy, Class 212 in Quantico, VA.
John holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice, a Master’s Degree in Behavior Science, and a Ph.D. in Public Administration. John serves on the executive board of the Patron’s Saints Foundation that provides grants to public charities that improve the health of individuals residing in the West San Gabriel Valley through health care programs.
Phlunte had 29 years on the force before she retired two years ago to run for the California State Senate and John has 31 years with Pasadena PD.
There is no bad choice between the two on paper, but there are intangibles that separate them. Phulnte comes from a background of community and John comes from a background of S.W.A.T. The community needs a person who can lead yet understand.
The time for change is now and the only change that can be made is with Phulnte Riddle because the City needs her at this time. She understands the un-heard vocab that exists in Pasadena. Relationships are so much deeper than they appear to be on the surface. John Perez can't go in the parks right now and make a difference, Phlunte can.
Phulnte has chased friends on these streets. You must take a minute and think about that. She grew up in these streets. She became a police officer during the crack-cocaine era, knowing people personally who were addicted and selling. She knows these streets. Phulnte can walk into any park in the city and talk to the patrons about what's going on. As it stands right now, Blacks in the city don't trust anyone other than another Black person to talk about anything real. I can't pinpoint when or where that began, but it's the truth.
We just dealt with Chief Sanchez, and although he doesn't have anything directly to do with Interm Chief Perez, Perez is what we just had in the eyes of the people in Northwest and Northwest is where they beat and kill Black men in Pasadena. He also comes from a S.W.A.T. background, so more than likely that's how he will lead, and under the wrong circumstances that could be dangerous in this city when tempers flare again.
If we are honest with ourselves we know the likelihood of the next person killed or beaten by the PPD will be Black because most of the officers are White and trained to fear Northwest. So when it happens, and it will happen, Black people won't want to hear a word Perez has to say, because we will feel like whatever he says will be lies to pacify.
The time for change is now, and it's time to bring it all back home. Phlunte Riddle is the person to do that. We can't talk about bridging the gap between the community and policing if that isn't really what the city manager wants. He should put the needs of the city over what he wants and take heed to this forewarning.
Phlunte' Riddle & John Perez