Crime & Justice

Pasadena Police Chief Melekian resigns, takes federal post

Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melekian
Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melekian
Courtesy Pasadena Public Affairs Office

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Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melekian is resigning his post to head the federal COPS program. United States Attorney General Eric Holder made the announcement at a police conference in Denver Monday. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze has more.

COPS stands for Community Oriented Policing Services.

The agency is part of the U.S. Justice Department. It oversees grants to hire police officers. Attorney General Holder said Melekian’s mission will include helping local police departments to use computer mapping and other technology to fight crime.

For 15 years, Melekian’s headed the Pasadena Police Department. He won praise for an anti-gang program that gave young people a second chance, and for programs that helped officers handle the mentally ill. Police watchdog Merrick Bobb called Melekian a “model police executive” who is honest and forthright.

Melekian’s faced criticism too. Earlier this year, a coroner’s report contradicted the chief’s statements that a suspect had not been shot in the back.

Before coming to Pasadena, Melekian spent 23 years with the Santa Monica Police Department where he won medals of valor and courage.