Bernard (Barney) Melekian is leaving the directorship of the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services after nearly four years. Melekian's last day will be Mar. 22. The agency gives grants to communities and shares information on improving police practices. Melekian said "we have made enormous progress" during his tenure on "training, technical assistance, and [serving as] a voice for American law enforcement." Melekian, who had served as police chief in California for more than 13 years before coming to Washington, said it was time to return to his grandchildren in California.
Speaking last year at a congressional oversight hearing, Melekian said, "Because of the history of our office – adding 123,000 officers to the streets of America – we have come to be seen as only a hiring office. We also provide a broad range of robust echnical assistance resources, which equip law enforcement with the tools to deal with their local crime issues. The federal role is often that of a gatherer and disseminator of best practices and as a
convener on issues of critical importance like officer deaths, controlled electronic device usage, and reentry." Before heading the Pasadena department, Melekian had served for 23 years in the Santa Monica, Ca., Police Department.