An eternity ago I met a young Chris Perez, working together at REI, hiking, biking, going to school and starting our young families. We had a lot in common and became fast friends. Perez graduated and became a local police officer, serving in every possible capacity (see below). In Episode 69 Commander Perez and I discuss some of the lessons learned during his storied career and how we still have many things in common, the most obvious being our desire to be firefighters, I mean public servants. Enjoy the episode.
A little more about our guest…
Commander Chris Pérez, began his career with the Chandler Police Department in 1997, after serving in the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. He has worked in numerous patrol positions throughout the department. In 2000 he became an investigator as part of the Neighborhood Response Team. In 2004 Pérez changed roles and became a School Resource Officer, instructing students in the Chandler Unified School District. In this assignment, Pérez created the Chandler Police Department Wilderness Experience, an outdoor, experiential education opportunity that serves middle school students. This successful program is still active today.
In 2004 he returned to the Criminal Investigations Bureau as a Special Victims detective, where he investigated violent crime and crimes against children. During his tenure, Pérez oversaw some of the city’s most high-profile cases and sought justice for victims. In 2012 he was promoted to sergeant and returned to patrol until 2014 when he was selected to return to the Special Victims Unit as Detective Sergeant. This provided the opportunity to oversee the direction of investigations, enhance best practices and serve as co-coordinator for the State of Arizona Child Abduction Response Team. He also served on an advisory committee in Washington D.C. developing a national protocol for sex abuse medical forensic examinations, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, the Department of Interior, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Human Health Services.
In 2014, Pérez assumed leadership of the Honor Guard as an ancillary duty, and in 2015 he was promoted to lieutenant, serving as watch commander over patrol. In 2016 he was selected to lead the department’s Special Investigations Section overseeing all Gang, Criminal Intelligence, Narcotics and Human Trafficking investigations.
In January of 2020, Commander Perez was assigned as the Operational Support Bureau Commander. Perez oversees the daily operations of the following units: SWAT, Criminal Apprehension Unit (CAU), K-9 Unit, Motor Unit, DUI Unit, Vehicular Crimes Unit, Bike Team Unit, Training Unit, SRO Unit, Park Ranger Unit, Volunteers in Policing Unit, Detention Services Unit, and our Police Cadet Unit.
Commander Pérez earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Arizona State University in 1997 and holds a master’s degree (2010) in education from Northern Arizona University. In his spare time, Commander Pérez is an outdoor enthusiast, an Adjunct College Professor of Justice Studies and also presents case studies and lectures throughout the United States.
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