East Palo Alto chooses new interim police chief


A seasoned former San Bruno police chief who has assisted numerous peninsula cities while they searched for new chiefs will step into the interim-chief role in East Palo Alto, City Manager Magda González announced today.

Lee Violett will assume the role beginning Jan. 21. He will replace the current interim chief, Federico Rocha.

Rocha is approaching the maximum number of annual hours allowable for a retiree to work for the city, as regulated by the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), Gonzalez said. Retired public employees can only work 960 hours per year from June 30 to July 1.

The city is expected to finalize its process to searching for a permanent chief in February.

Violett served as San Bruno's police chief for eight years. He retired in 2006 with more than 30 years in municipal law enforcement in several peninsula cities. He has held the entire range of law enforcement positions including police officer, sergeant, lieutenant, and captain. Since his retirement, he has assisted a number of cities as interim chief, including Millbrae, Half Moon Bay, and most recently in Menlo Park. He has consulted in strategic planning, training, and investigative analysis.

"I want to both welcome our new Interim Chief Lee Violett, and express the city's gratitude and appreciation to Interim Chief Rocha for his dedicated service in this role," Gonzalez said. Violett is "a consummate professional with a remarkable breadth of experience, and will prove to be a valuable asset to the City of East Palo Alto," she added.

Violett initiated a grass-roots campaign to reduce violence in the Tongan communities within San Mateo and San Bruno. He helped create San Mateo County's Critical Incident Stress Management Team to help first responders. He worked to develop a program for training and equipping law-enforcement personnel for response to domestic or international terrorist incidents and developed a model Active Shooter Protocol. He has a Masters in Management Science and a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration.

As interim police chief of Menlo Park, he gained wide experience in collaborating directly with the East Palo Alto Police Department.


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 16, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Thank god EPA has a real Police Chief now! Maybe it's time for Fred Rocha to go back to Oakland PD since it's obvious he's not totally disabled. Yes, Freddy has a disability retirement from Oakland. If he can work in EPA, he should be able to go back to work in Oakland. What to you say Freddy???

Like this comment
Posted by Occam's Razor
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 17, 2014 at 1:29 am

I agree 100%. This interim Chief looks good. Hope the final selection is just as equal. A greater hope is that the Oakland interim Chief and the former chief ARE NOT part of the selection process.
Our former chief was a glad hander and a political sharpie. Good words, nice meetings, good sounding projects, etc. But a terrible personnel manager.
We need an individual who can be part of the community - not an individual that has such a high opinion of themselves that they will never connect.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 17, 2014 at 10:23 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

Excuse my cynicism, but I'm not holding my breath for this, as wonderful as it would be: "We need an individual who can be part of the community - not an individual that has such a high opinion of themselves that they will never connect."

Like this comment
Posted by Get Real
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2014 at 8:08 pm

EPA needs someone ruthless who can clean house, not someone who is part of the community. [Portion removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by Tired of the BS
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 19, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Tired of the BS is a registered user.

I've talked to some members of the police department, they all seemed to like Rocha. Told me he was really helping to get things done and get rid of those who don't ...

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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