New COPS Director Melekian Touts “Values-Based Policing”


Values-based policing will be the “next wave” of policing strategy, says Bernard Melekian, new director of the U.S. Justice Department’s COPS Office. In an interview with the Pasadena (CA) Star-News, Melekian, the Pasadena police chief, says the concept is “just getting its own traction.” He explains that, “It is a focus on changing the question for police employees in general from `Can I do this?’ to `Should I do this?’ It’s enormously powerful.”

Melekian is leaving Pasadena after 13 years. He says he “created something called the Civilian Career Ladder which allows nonsworn employees to promote and to transfer and to move around in ways that almost no department in this country that I know of is doing, and I’m really proud we made that work.” During his tenure, Melekian said, Pasadena dramatically reduced violence. Violent crime declined every year between 1997 and 2007, when it spiked, and the city went 30 months without a gang-related homicide in a city that had 20 to 25 each year.

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