El Segundo Police Chief Bill Whalen has announced his retirement after an impressive 32-year law enforcement career, effective July 2, 2021. During his four years in El Segundo, Chief Whalen had a highly positive impact on the City organization in general, and within the El Segundo Police Department in particular. Chief Whalen successfully enhanced community engagement initiatives, improved the department’s organizational structure, and skillfully guided the City through the COVID-19 and social justice emergencies. Throughout his career, Chief Whalen has been an advocate for equity, unbiased policing, and effective police-community relations.
Prior to joining El Segundo in 2017, Chief Whalen served with the Garden Grove and Irvine Police Departments. In Garden Grove, he worked on several assignments such as patrol, field training officer, SWAT, special investigations, and was an investigator for the Orange County Drug Enforcement Administration joint task force. In 1999, he joined the Irvine Police Department where his assignments included: patrol, SWAT/sniper, detectives, and internal affairs. He promoted through the ranks of
sergeant, lieutenant, and ultimately commander where he oversaw the entire operations bureau.
In El Segundo, Chief Whalen instituted numerous improvements, including the implementation of a comprehensive reorganization of the department, and refocusing of resources to better serve the community and enhance operational effectiveness. He established the Peer Support and Chaplain programs, updated the department’s policy manual, enhanced SWAT capabilities, added a professional crime analyst position to better utilize statistical data to reduce crime, and created a community engagement division. Chief Whalen was also instrumental in modernizing the police station by adding a state-of-the-art shooting range for training and updating the property/evidence room. His leadership allowed the department to take a more engaging and collaborative approach to citywide initiatives such as addressing homelessness and working with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.
“From a personal standpoint, I have always tried to be an open and accessible chief,” stated El Segundo Police Chief Bill Whalen. “I have tried very hard in my career to move the needle in a positive direction on race relations and gender equality. I am proud of the diversity within our department. I am grateful for the welcome I received when coming to El Segundo and for the vast amount of support this community shows the police department.”
“Chief Whalen served the El Segundo community with dignity and honor and has been an effective leader for the organization,” said City Manager Scott Mitnick. “In many ways, Bill has been a model Police Chief and served as a role model for others to emulate. He will be missed, and it will be hard to find a replacement at his level.”
Chief Whalen has an extensive educational background, including a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in emergency services administration. His executive law enforcement training includes peace officer standards and training (POST) supervisory and management school and the prestigious POST command college where Chief Whalen researched and published an article on implicit bias in policing. Chief Whalen is a strong advocate for reducing implicit bias in policing, ending bias by proxy, and improving race relations.
Captain Jaime Bermudez, a 29-year veteran of El Segundo Police Department, will serve as Interim Police Chief, pending a recruitment process. Chief Whalen will work closely with the City Manager to ensure a seamless and successful transition.