The City of Perris said goodbye to Police Chief Brandon Ford Sept. 12 and welcomed his new replacement, a law enforcement veteran with 27 years of service and experience working in the community.
The Perris City Council presented Ford with a Certificate of Recognition at the start of its meeting, congratulating him on his promotion to Chief Deputy with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. The sheriff’s office provides law enforcement protection to Perris under a contract with the City and Ford took on responsibilities as Chief in 2015.
Ford’s new responsibilities include overseeing operations at the Perris, Moreno Valley and Jurupa Valley sheriff’s stations as well as the Special Investigations and Media bureaus. His last day as Perris chief was Wednesday (Sept 13.)
“It has been truly an honor and privilege to serve as chief in Perris,” Ford said. “The support from the City has been unwavering. It has been a really fun time and it is bittersweet that I am moving on.”
Ford said law enforcement in California and throughout the nation is facing challenges on several fronts—from laws that have allowed prisoners to be released back into communities, to legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational purposes, to confrontations, to the rise of hate groups intent on violent confrontation.
“I want to be part of leadership that is making policy at this difficult time,” Ford said.
Perris’s commitment to keeping its residents safe remains a top priority. Ford said the Perris station hired its first full-time crime prevention officer to work with businesses, individual homeowners and Neighborhood Watch groups to protect their communities and property. Perris also is expanding its traffic control efforts.
"Learned a lot"
Ford thanked the City Council and City Manager Richard Belmudez for running “an efficient city that gets a lot done…with a very small staff.”
“I learned a lot from you,” Ford told Belmudez. “You’re a great man and an incredible City Manager.”
Ford’s replacement, Capt. Greg Fellows, has worked in Perris and served as Assistant Chief for the contract city of Menifee. He’s well versed in investigating high tech crime, has experience in internal affairs matters and has supervised the investigations bureau in Perris. His previous experience includes a stint with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
“I expect nothing but a seamless transition,” Ford said. “He’s a problem solver who believes the future lies in a relationship with the community and that solving crime is everybody’s responsibility.”
Fellows said he is eager to take the reins as Police Chief and working with elected representatives and Perris residents to keep the City safe.
“We’re all part of the All-Star team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working hard for everyone in the community.”
Praise from elected reps
Perris Mayor Michael Vargas, a retired Los Angeles schools police officer, said he appreciated Ford’s commitment to the City and predicted he would shine in his new capacity.
“Our loss is their (the sheriff department’s) gain,” Vargas said. “You’re going to do well.”
City Councilwoman Rita Rogers praised Ford for working with Cops and Clergy, a community-based group of ministers working to improve the relationship between residents and law enforcement. Rogers noted that the ministers in the group spent a day at the Ben Clark Training Center, where they took part in scenarios that required split-second decisions about whether to shoot or not to shoot as they encountered people in a variety of confrontations real-life cops face every day.
“You have been a tremendous asset to Cops and Clergy,” Rogers said.
Rogers added that Ford gained the trust of Perris ministers by displaying “leadership and an open-door policy and setting an example by listening to pastors and their concerns.”
“Be blessed in your promotion,” she said. “You truly deserve it.”