South Pasadena City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe has selected Joe Ortiz to lead the South Pasadena Police Department.
“I am very pleased to welcome Joe Ortiz to South Pasadena,” DeWolfe said in a statement issued on March 15. “His community-based approach to policing, along with extensive experience in similar police departments, makes him an excellent fit for our city.”
Ortiz, a 25-year law enforcement veteran, succeeds former South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller, who left the department in August after five years to take the chief’s position in Peoria, Arizona. Capt. Brian Solinsky has served as acting chief since that time.
Ortiz served as police chief in Sierra Madre since 2016, joining that department in 2010. Prior to that, Ortiz served as a detective with the Glendora Police Department. He’s also a veteran of the US Air Force and the Air National Guard.
“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 will be sworn in on April 1, DeWolfe said. He will lead a department of 36 sworn officers and 17 non-sworn staff members.
Ortiz holds a master’s degree in emergency management and bachelor of arts degree in occupational studies from Cal State, Long Beach. He and his wife live in Claremont. Ortiz has two adult sons, one of whom has followed in his law enforcement footsteps.
According to the South Pasadena Review, a field of 21 applicants was narrowed down to seven. Those seven candidates were interviewed by two panels, one comprised of sworn law enforcement executives, the other made up of city employees. The panels chose four finalists who were then interviewed by DeWolfe, who made the final decision.
“I’d like to welcome Chief Ortiz to the South Pasadena community,” South Pasadena Mayor Marina Khubesrian said in a prepared statement. “His reputation in Sierra Madre is excellent, and I have full confidence that he will bring the same high level of service and dedication to our residents.”