Interim City Manager Marianna Marysheva announced today the retirement of Irvine Police Department (IPD) Chief Mike Hamel after 27 years of distinguished service to the Irvine community.
Chief Hamel is a 29-year law enforcement veteran who began his career with the Los Angeles Police Department before laterally transferring to IPD in 1995. His past assignments include Deputy Police Chief, Area Commander, Investigations Lieutenant, Training and Recruitment Lieutenant, Police Sergeant, Field Training Officer, Traffic Officer, and SWAT Operator. He has served as IPD’s Chief of Police for six years, a role he approached with thoughtfulness, tenacity, and compassion for department personnel, city employees, and the community-at-large.
During Chief Hamel’s tenure, the City of Irvine continued to be recognized as the safest city in America for its size in Part I violent crime. Chief Hamel has served as President of the Orange County Chiefs’ of Police and Sheriff’s Association. He also serves as Commissioner for the Orange County Human Relations Commission, a role he has held since 2015. He currently serves as a voting member of the Integrated Law and Justice Joint Powers Authority, an entity dedicated to evaluating and recommending new technology for adoption by Orange County Law Enforcement. Chief Hamel is also an Executive Board member of the FBI Regional Computer Forensic Lab. In addition, Chief Hamel has been recognized for his work in victim advocacy and creating comprehensive victim services programs. He has received several awards for his work in this area and has presented at related conferences nationally.
Interim City Manager Marysheva also announced today that she has appointed IPD Assistant Chief Michael Kent as the next Irvine Chief of Police upon Hamel’s retirement.
“Chief Hamel is an outstanding professional, a dedicated public servant, and a caring mentor who will be missed by many,” said Interim City Manager Marianna Marysheva. His dedication and compassion to serving this community is world-class. Assistant Chief Kent has a strong work ethic, high professional standards, and the courage to take risks with innovative programs and approaches to policing. His experience level and previous positions held with the Irvine Police Department make him a strong and natural selection to lead the Irvine Police Department into the future.”
Assistant Chief Kent began his law enforcement career in 1993 as an Explorer at IPD while attending Woodbridge High School. A longtime resident of Irvine, Assistant Chief Kent continues to pour his heart and soul into serving his community and has done so since he was hired as a police officer in 2002. His past assignments include Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, SWAT operator, Honor Guard officer, Detective, Patrol Sergeant, Directed Enforcement Team Sergeant, Office of Professional Development Sergeant, Investigations Lieutenant, SWAT Lieutenant, and Operations Lieutenant. In his role as Commander, he has overseen Patrol, Traffic, Investigations, Internal Affairs, Recruitment and Training, Records, Dispatch, Property, Crime Scene Investigation, Public Safety Fleet Services, and Animal Services. Assistant Chief Kent has received numerous awards for service, including the Medal of Courage, Employee of the Quarter, Life Saving Award, Meritorious Service Award, three Unit Commendations, the Colonel Laurence J. Stein Award for outstanding investigative work, and a Community Relations Award. In addition, in 2016, he received the 40 under 40 award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Assistant Chief Kent is a graduate of the LAPD’s West Point Leadership Program, Golden West College’s Leadership Program, the California POST Executive Development Course, the Senior Management Institute of Policing Course (Boston), and the California Police Chief’s Association Executive Development Course.
Assistant Chief Kent holds a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fullerton in Communications and a master’s degree from the University of California, Irvine, in Criminology: Law and Society.
“I want to thank Chief Hamel for his outstanding 27 years of service to the City of Irvine, the Irvine Police Department, and our community,” said Mayor Farrah N. Khan. Mike is a person of high integrity, character, and an unrelenting resolve to serve Irvine in the most professional manner possible. It’s been a pleasure to work with Chief Hamel. We will miss his leadership but know Assistant Chief Kent is a capable and experienced leader who is prepared to assume his new role and drive the Irvine Police Department forward to new levels of excellence.
The transition in leadership will occur during the next several weeks. Chief Hamel’s retirement date is set for October 7, 2021.
Since its incorporation in 1971, Irvine has become a nationally recognized city, with a population of 307,670 that spans 66 square miles and is recognized as one of America’s safest and most successful master-planned urban communities. Top-rated educational institutions, an enterprising business atmosphere, sound environmental stewardship, and respect for diversity all contribute to Irvine’s enviable quality of life. This family-friendly city features more than 16,000 acres of parks, sports fields and dedicated open space and is the home of the Great Park. For more information, please visit cityofirvine.org.