Anaheim’s City Council unanimously voted Wednesday to permanently name Raul Quezada its Chief of Police. The election comes seven months after Quezada was tabbed as Interim Police Chief, following John Welter’s retirement.
“It’s always been a goal, ever since I began the academy about 20 years ago at Rio Hondo,” said Quezada. “I couldn’t be more excited to head such a great organization and serve such an amazing and diverse city.”
Quezada grew up one of five children in Pico Rivera and first imagined himself a cop with “Chips,” the popular television show, as inspiration. He paid his own way through the first half of the police academy and was eventually hired by Los Angeles Police Department.
Three years later, he joined APD. After 17 years with the department, Quezada is the first Latino Police Chief in the history of Anaheim.
“It’s definitely a source of pride in that I can be a role model to Latinos and other minorities out there,” he said. “But more than anything, I think of my father and the sacrifices he made in coming here, working to provide for us, and now I get to represent that hard work. That’s probably the most satisfying aspect of this position; doing this for my dad.”
Quezada was named Interim Police Chief in May amid significant civic unrest and views earning the city’s trust as his number one priority. In response, he has since overseen several changes in policy.
One of product is the “Chief’s Neighborhood Advisory Council,” a monthly meeting to converse about the goings on in various parts of the city. Thursday night, a representative from the council asked, “What kind of response have you gotten to forming our group?”
Quezada responded, “We’ve learned that we can’t expect the city to blindly trust what we’re doing without communication. And honestly, I prefer the open communication because it helps provide a face to the community we’ve been entrusted to protect.”
While progress has been made, Quezada insists there is much to be done achieve his goals as Chief. He is confident that, with the help of his command staff and the policemen and women that support him, continued growth is realistic to expect.
After the meeting, one of the representatives who happened to be dressed as Santa Claus approached Quezada. “So I guess the last thing is, what do you want for Christmas?” He asked.
“I already got it,” answered Chief Quezada.
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