Phlunte’ Riddle – the interview
By Terry Miller
Phlunte’ Riddle, who retired from the Pasadena Police Department a few years ago, never slowed down her zest for life and avid thirst for political knowledge. In fact Riddle went in to full gear after retirement by running for California State Senate and then working closely with Assemblyman Chris Holden as well as working on her doctorate.
“I wanted to stretch my abilities to find resources … everything is local … with 29 years at Pasadena PD, the experience helped me solve problems within our community and become a link to resources,” Riddle told Pasadena Independent on Monday.
With deep-rooted commitment to the community, Phlunte’ Riddle decided to throw her hat in the ring and apply for the position of Pasadena’s Chief of Police.
“Pasadena is so complex…” Riddle says. It’s a “beautiful city and demanding” and she says she’s up for the challenge now more than ever with her extensive background and love for her family (she has three sons) as well as her faith.
Riddle became an agent for the PPD in 1988; a sergeant in 1992 – under the PPD Chief Jerry Oliver – and in 1997 was promoted to lieutenant; a first for an African-American woman in Pasadena. Riddle says she’s “humbled” to offer her talents as a candidate for chief of police when she discovered how much support the community has for her.
In her final years before retirement from PPD, Riddle was adjutant to Chief Phillip Sanchez.
“I’m a high energy person, driven. I’ve got to get everything done on my checklist, every day, and women had to hustle in the Police Department to get ahead,” Riddle said. After working under at least seven city managers and six police chiefs, Phlunte’ Riddle was more than prepared for whatever came her way.
Her father in law, Ralph Riddle, was the first African-American police officer in Pasadena in 1946. “He mentored me and taught me the importance of respect and dignity.”
There are challenges within Pasadena and the police department but Riddle is up for the task. She says her mentors, which include the dedicated police dispatchers and highly trained officers with whom she has worked over the years, add to her commitment to the city.
Riddle believes she’s able to stretch her ability to find the resources necessary for change.
Reiterating that “everything is local,” Phlunte’ Riddle believes that Pasadena officers have some of the very best training in the United States and with knowing the day-to-day operations have “broadened my perspective and ability to interact with community leaders and the general public with respect.”
We asked about community policing to which Riddle stated that the police department has been doing this since the Watts Riots.
What was her motivation to apply for the position? “I just never retired,” she quipped. “As a woman, I have a unique perspective to be a good leader … I’d like to be a bridge in the community to guide the talented men and women of the Pasadena Police department,” Riddle said.
Being politically astute and trusted, Riddle believes her experience and unique vision will bring 21st Century policing to a whole new level.
“We all want the same things: safety, education and dignity that will bring the community and PD together with deep care and commitment to the community,” Phlunte’ Riddle says she’s looking forward to being interviewed for the position and considers it an honor to serve.
Editor’s Note: Look for next Thursday’s issue for an in-depth interview with Interim Chief John Perez.