friends to prison, Darryl was keenly aware of the pressures recently released felons face as they navigate renewing relationships with family and friends, finding gainful employment and housing while avoiding the lure of the streets. His dedication to community policing was engendered early on.
When Darryl was 15 he was introduced to the Explorer program when some kids from Los Angeles moved to the neighborhood and asked if the police had any programs where they took kids camping
For over 30 years, John Muir High School graduate, Darryl Qualls has been an officer with the Pasadena Police Department. Deputy Chief of Police Qualls has made protecting and serving the community he loves, his life's work. He is a noble man whose services extend beyond the local precinct, as he travels and speaks to civilians and police forces throughout America. Born at the old Pasadena Community Hospital which now serves as the Health Department, on Fair Oaks and Tremont, Officer Qualls, is a self described, true “Pasadenean,” who has a lifetime of adoration for all, including and especially those in need of a second chance.
Darryl is passionate in his mission of aiding former prisoners reintegration into society. Having faced the tough reality of sending
By Veronica Loving
Explore the possibilities of becoming an explorer and getting a head start on a lifelong career in law enforcement.
In 1983, Darryl was sworn into the Pasadena Police Department, while crack cocaine was making its way to the streets of Northwest Pasadena. It was a transitional time in the city and the lure of quick money seduced many of the boys he had grown up with into the drug game. Rock cocaine, as it was called then, enveloped Northwest Pasadena, leaving a trail of turmoil and destruction.
So much money was touching young hands that violence rose at a rapid pace and police were put on the front line of defense in the war on drugs.
Darryl shared a story about a friend who he had to arrest twice. A friend that he lectured all the way to the police station, twice. A friend who when he got himself together, thanked Darryl for being the man that he is, because it forced him to reevaluate his choices and make positive decisions about his life. Chief Qualls saw the importance of setting a bar of accountability to encourage people to be their best self. Once the formerly incarcerated is released it is in the best interest of the former felon and the community as a whole, that proper rehabilitation and a program of reintegration is in place. The Pasadena/Altadena Reintegration Council is a passion project that Darryl co-founded in cooperation with the Flintridge Center, based upon a reintegration program, called, Free at Last, that he was introduced to at the 2007 National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives Conference, in Oakland. Free at Last, headed by Chief Ron Davis in East Palo Alto, California, answers the question of how to help the formerly incarcerated integrate back into society. As a result of the 2007 class action lawsuit Coleman/Plata vs. Schwarzenegger, which would go before the Supreme Court; a 2010 decision was reached that the overcrowding of California prisons was unconstitutional. California prisons were forced to reduce the prison population. This left the state with very real concerns and questions of how to help transition the formerly incarcerated into a world that may be very different from the one that existed prior to them going to jail. If reintegration fails, then you face a return to prison. Recidivism is one of the biggest issues facing the African-American community across the nation. The 2014 California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) report shows that the rate of return to prison of African American inmates released in 2008/2009 within a three year period is 66.1%. Darryl asked Chief Davis if he could take the tenants of the Free at Last program back home to Pasadena and PARC was founded. PARC and similar programs empower participants, restoring hope and dignity within the individual. Officer Qualls shared that PARC participants are “...encouraged to be a part of the change and a part of the solution.”
The Pasadena/Altadena Reintegration Council (PARC) provides incentives, resources, housing, employment and supportive community aid with the aim of reducing the recidivism rate. Chief Darryl Qualls enthusiastic approach is a fortunate benefit to those in Pasadena, who have served their time and are in need of a new beginning. Chief Qualls provides those who want a fresh start an opportunity to have one, which is all many people need.
Deputy Chief Qualls hopes more young African-Americans from Pasadena join the Explorer or cadet program, with the intention of pursuing a life on the force when they graduate high school. “You get all the benefits, medical, dental and the checks once earned don’t stop,” Darryl told us. Beyond the fiscal incentives, diversifying the force, increases opportunities for community policing, policy reviews, and conversations to help bridge the unease between the African American community and the Police.
Close to retiring from the police force, Darryl Qualls will undoubtedly, use his retirement to increase the help he provides to those in need as he continues to build PARC into its fullest potential.
Chief Darryl Qualls stands tall as a man of valor, honor and compassion, receiving praise and thanks throughout the city, even from those he has formerly incarcerated, simply by being the man he that he is. His work is representative of his belief in the potential of the city that he cherishes and a record of protection and service that is a tribute to the badge he has worn for over three decades.
For more information on PARC, please go to the following website: http://www.flintridge.org/collaborations/reintegration.htm
Meetings are held every third Thursday, at 500 East Villa in Pasadena.
and on other types of field trips. After checking with the Altadena Sheriff’s Department, they were told that both the Altadena Sheriff’s Department and the Pasadena Police Department had programs in place. Darryl joined the Explorer program and was hooked. It was in his early experience with the Department as a teen Explorer, that Darryl begin to envision law enforcement as a career.
Darryl Qualls moved up the ranks, from Explorer, to Cadet, to Officer, to his current position as Deputy Chief. Darryl earned a Bachelor's Degree from Azusa Pacific and a Master’s Degree from Cal State Dominguez Hills in Behavioral Science. Beyond the impressive resume, one conversation with Darryl, will reveal that he sees his position of power within the force as a tool to help uplift so many others.