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.