On Monday July 3,Pasadena native and John Muir alum Richard Bell will be sworn in as the first African-American Chief of Police for the City of West Covina.
An outstanding athlete, Richard played football at John Muir and was All-Pacific League and All-Southern Section quarterback and he went on to play slot back at the University of Nebraska. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 12th round and played a season with them. He went to the Kansas City Chiefs as a free agent the next season and was released during training camp. The next year he went to Spain to play for the Barcalona Dragons but was severely injured and his career came to an end.
A law enforcer for over twenty years, Richard has been breaking down barriers his whole life. When he first African-American male hired in the City of San Marino in the '90s. Richard told the Pasadena Black Pages that when he got to San Marino he didn't know he was the first Black male to work there, simply because the city is so close to Pasadena and Pasadena is such a diverse community. He had no idea that things were so different right down the street.
Richard followed the chief from San Marino to West Covina and he has been there ever since.
West Covina just got a good man to run things, even if its just for a little while. Still young by police standards, Richard will be sworn in Monday as the interim chief and the buck will stop with him, but the city is currently looking for a permanent replacement. So even though the intern label will be off and Richard will wear the stripes of the chief, he feels like he will be the chief somewhere someday.
We could use a local guy who really understands the community here in Pasadena. it's a beautiful thing the see progression in a city like West Covina, but it brings us back to the lack of progression here in Pasadena, a very diverse city that hasn't had an African-American police chief since James M. Robenson in the 80s.
West Covina has Richard Bell now, but if they don't want to keep him, we think he would be the best Chief of Police Pasadena could ever have. Things have to change and Richard Bell could straighten out a lot of things here in Pasadena.