Joe Ortiz, a 25-year law enforcement veteran, has been named the new police chief for South Pasadena, City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe announced Saturday.

Prior to accepting his new position, Ortiz served as Sierra Madre’s police chief since 2016.

“I am very pleased to welcome Joe Ortiz to South Pasadena,” DeWolfe said. “His community-based approach to policing, along with extensive experience in similar police departments, make him an excellent fit for our city.”

Ortiz is set to begin his new position on April 1, DeWolfe said. He will lead a department of 53, with 36 sworn officers and 17 non-sworn staff members.

Ortiz joined the Sierra Madre Police Department in 2010 as a patrol sergeant and rose through the ranks, becoming captain of operations and support divisions in 2014 before becoming chief.

Ortiz previously served as a detective and corporal in the Glendora Police Department. He is a veteran of the Air Force and the Air National Guard.

Ortiz described his law enforcement approach as “contemporary, community-based policing.” His leadership style, he said, one of inclusion and relationship building with internal and external stakeholders to define and achieve common goals, citing the coalition building that led to broad support of the Sierra Madre Police Department’s strategic plan.

“I look forward to engaging with the South Pasadena community, police officers and staff, and the City leadership teams,” Ortiz said. “My predecessors have created a very strong department, and I’m excited to be able to build on that success with a collaborative approach.”

Ortiz succeeds former South Pasadena Chief Art Miller, who left the city in August. Captain Brian Solinsky has served as acting chief since that time.

Ortiz holds a master of science degree in emergency management and bachelor of arts in occupational studies from Cal State Long Beach. Ortiz lives in Claremont and is married, with two adult sons, one of whom has followed in his law enforcement footsteps.

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