When Women Lead: Breaking Barriers, Building Communities

For the first time in Los Angeles County’s history, there are currently seven female police chiefs.

When Women Lead: Breaking Barriers, Building Communities

Below you will find detailed bios for the speakers and panelists, at the bottom you will find an archive of some of the live Tweets from this exciting day. For details and a summary of the event, click here.

Thank you to all the sponsors of this event:

USC Price Athenian Society
USC Dept of Public Safety
USC Bedrosian Center
USC Safe Communities
Alhambra Police
Manhattan Beach Police Department
Glendora Police Department
Claremont Police Department
Hermosa Beach Police Department
Santa Monica Police Department
Beverly Hills Police Department


Morning Keynote

Deirdre L. Fike
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Assistant Director in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Office

Deirdre L. Fike serves as the leader for the third largest field office in the FBI. Ms. Fike oversees all operations and personnel for the Los Angeles territory which encompasses seven counties and 20 million people. Prior to being selected as ADIC in Los Angeles, Ms. Fike served as the Special Agent in Charge of the Anchorage Field Office in Alaska.

She began her career in 1989 assigned to the Lousiville Field Office where she investigated Violent Crime and served as the Bank Robbery Coordinator. She was a member of the Crisis Negotiation Team and Coordinator for the Behavioral Analysis Unit.

In 1997, Ms. Fike returned to her home state of Nebraska and served in the Omaha Field Office where she investigated White Collar Crime matters and initiated the first Nebraska Health Care Fraud Task Force. In 2002, Ms. Fike was promoted to Supervisory Special Agent at FBI Headquarters where she investigated allegations of misconduct.

In 2004, Ms. Fike served as a Supervisory Special Agent in Sacramento with oversight of the White Collar Crime Program, supervising Health Care Fraud, Organized Crime, Public Corruption, and Civil Rights investigations. She also supervised the South Lake Tahoe Resident Agency.

In 2009, Ms. Fike was promoted to Assistant Special Agent in Charge in Sacramento where she led the Intelligence Branch with oversight for the field office intelligence analysts and Human Intelligence Program. She was also responsible for the Evidence Response Team, Surveillance/Aviation Program, and SWAT Operations.

Breaking Barriers panel

Jackie Gomez-Whiteley
Police Chief, Alhambra Police DepartmentChief Jackie Gomez-Whiteley has been a law enforcement professional for 29 years. She began her career as a Police Explorer for the Los Alamitos Police Department in 1978 and later advanced to Police Cadet in 1984. Chief Gomez-Whiteley attended Loyola Marymount University on a basketball scholarship where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Alcohol and Drug Studies. Upon completion of her undergraduate studies, she entered the police academy at the Golden West College Criminal Justice Training Center in 1986 and was hired by the Orange Police Department. In 2009, she completed her Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership at Chapman University, and also received a certificate in Public and Non-Profit Leadership.While at the Orange Police Department, Jackie rose through the ranks and became the department’s first woman motor officer, as well as sergeant and lieutenant; and worked all three divisions: Patrol, Investigations and Administration. In 1989, Jackie was involved in an officer-involved shooting of a kidnap and attempted murder suspect. As a result of her actions, she was awarded the Orange Police Department’s Medal of Valor, as well as honored by both the Rotary Club and American Legion. In 2007, Jackie graduated from the P.O.S.T. Command College, where she published an article in Police and Security News Magazine titled: Dirty Bombs: Calculating the Threat.In 2009, Chief Gomez-Whiteley was hired as a Captain with the Cypress Police Department where she oversaw both divisions: Support Services and Operations during her tenure as Captain. In these roles, she worked closely with department staff in implementing best practices regarding recruitment and hiring, professional standards and current policies and procedures.Jackie instructs recruits at the Golden West College Criminal Justice Training Center where she has been on staff since 1994 and also teaches police executives at the San Diego Regional Training Center, California State University, Long Beach – Center for Criminal Justice, and South Bay Regional Public Safety Consortium. She was the Program Coordinator for the Golden West College Leadership and Ethics Institute and currently sits on the Steering Committee. In 2010, Chief Gomez-Whiteley was awarded the Golden West College Alumni Pillar of Achievement for her community-policing efforts.Chief Gomez-Whiteley is a volunteer and President of Officers Give Hope, a non-profit organization dedicated to hosting marrow donor drives in the public safety community throughout the State of California. In November 2008, Officers Give Hope was the recipient of the prestigious National Service Award presented by the National Marrow Donor Program in Minneapolis, Minnesota.In 2011, Jackie was appointed Chief of Police for the Cypress Police Department — the first woman municipal Police Chief in Orange County. Under her leadership, the Cypress Police Department has been recognized by Crime Survivors as the Community-Policing Organization of the Year for 2012 and by the Orange County Human Relations Commission for their 2013 Community-Policing Award. Chief Gomez-Whiteley was honored by OC Metro as one of 20 Women to Watch in 2013 and nominated by the Orange County Business Journal for the 2013 Women in Business Award. In 2014, she was recognized by Assemblywoman Sharon Qwirk-Silva as one of the Women of Distinction recipients and also awarded the Spurgeon Award by Exploring Learning for Life of Orange County.In July 2016, Chief Gomez-Whiteley came out of retirement to become the Interim Chief of Police at the Alhambra Police Department. She is currently conducting an organizational assessment to assist the incoming Chief in his/her transition.Chief Gomez-Whiteley was responsible for coordinating the Southern California region of the Women Leaders in Law Enforcement organization, which is sponsored by the California Police Chiefs’ Association. She is a member of the California Police Chiefs’ Association, California Peace Officers’ Association, and International Association of Chiefs of Police. Chief Gomez-Whiteley continues to serve on a number of boards, including Orange County Exploring Learning for Life and the Orange County Diocese of Orange.Eve Irvine
Police Chief, Manhattan Beach Police DepartmentChief Eve R. Irvine began her law enforcement career with the Inglewood Police Department in 1982 as a Police Cadet. In 1984, she was appointed to the position of Police Officer and attended the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Academy. In 1989, she was appointed to the position of D.A.R.E. Officer. She was promoted to Detective in 1990. As a Detective, Chief Irvine became a nationally recognized expert in the area of Domestic Violence and worked assignments in Sex Crimes/Child Abuse, Assaults, and Robbery. In 1993, she attended the highly acclaimed Delinquency Control Institute at the University of Southern California. She was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 1994. As a Sergeant, Chief Irvine worked in the Patrol Bureau as a Field Supervisor and Watch Commander. In 1995, Chief Irvine was transferred to the Administrative Bureau, as supervisor over Police Training and Personnel.In 1997, Chief Irvine was appointed to the position of Acting Lieutenant and transferred to the Patrol Bureau as a Watch Commander. In 1999, she was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and transferred to the Office of the Chief of Police, where she served as Adjutant to the Chief of Police. In addition to Adjutant duties, she commanded the Community Affairs Section and Internal Affairs. She also served as Press Information Officer for the Department. In 2003, she was promoted to the rank of Captain.
Chief Irvine was sworn in as the Manhattan Beach Chief of Police on May 25, 2011.Chief Irvine has received the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Business and Management from the University of Redlands and Master of Business Administration from the University of La Verne. She is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and California’s POST Command College. She is also a recognized expert in the field of Media Relations.Chief Irvine currently serves as the President of the South Bay Police and Fire Memorial Foundation, and is a Board Member on the Governor’s Medal of Valor Review Board. She also serves as a member of the California Police Chiefs’ Association Law and Legislation Committee and the Training Committee, and is the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs’ Association’s representative on the Los Angeles County Peace Officers Memorial Foundation.

Lisa Rosales
Chief of Police, Glendora Police Department

Chief Lisa Rosales was appointed as Glendora Police Chief at the January 10, 2017 City Council meeting. Rosales has over 30 years of police experience with Pasadena Police and as Chief of Police for the City of San Pablo. Chief Rosales has held a variety of positions from patrol, detectives and administrative services management, along with the ranks of Officer, Corporal, Sergeant, Lieutenant and Commander with the Pasadena Police Department from 1987 to 2014. After competing in a nationwide search, the City of San Pablo appointed her as their Chief of Police in 2014.

Chief Rosales attended the University of San Diego earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts and held a teaching credential for the State of California. She earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of La Verne. In 2007, she graduated California’s POST Command College and was the recipient of the prestigious Hank E. Koehn leadership award.

Rosales grew up in Highland Park, California. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of San Diego in 1986, she was a substitute teacher. Her interest in police work was the result of two friends whom in 1977 were kidnapped and murdered around her quiet hometown area. The young victims were killed at the hands of the “Hillside Strangler” that terrorized the Los Angeles area in the late 1970’s with the killing of 10 women. While in the teaching field, Rosales somehow knew she had to do more to help people and families in the community terrorized by violent crime. In 1987 the Pasadena Police Department hired Chief Rosales and sponsored her through the Rio Hondo Police Academy.

While Chief Rosales has never been part of the Glendora Police Department, she has been a resident of Glendora while working with the City of Pasadena Police Department prior to her appointment in San Pablo. She kept her house here with plans to one day return to Glendora to live. When the position opened up to be Glendora’s Police Chief she knew it was an opportunity of a life time.

City Manager Chris Jeffers said, “Her desire to contribute and live in Glendora has come true, and we are very fortunate to have her wealth of experience and leadership become part of the Glendora Police Department.”

Chief Rosales officially began her duties on February 6, 2017. She is passionate about her commitment to the Glendora Police Department. Chief Rosales looks forward to becoming more involved and understanding what is important to the City of Glendora and its community.

Shelly Vander Veen
Police Chief, Claremont Police Department

Shelly Vander Veen was appointed the Chief of Police for the City of Claremont in November 2016. Vander Veen is a 23 year veteran of the Claremont Police Department, having started her career as a reserve officer in 1993. In her many years with the Department, she has proven a dedication to the Claremont community and a commitment to ensuring the safety of all Claremont residents, students, businesses, and visitors. She embodies the spirit of community-based policing and promotes a culture of inclusion and respect.

Vander Veen grew up locally in Chino, where her family was active in the dairy industry. Following high school, Shelly received her associate’s degree in Psychology and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Sienna Heights University in Michigan. While attending Sienna Heights University, Vander Veen was honored as an All-American Soccer Player and an Academic All-American in both soccer and softball. For her athletic achievements, she was inducted into the University’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Her natural athleticism and desire to make a difference in her community made law enforcement a perfect fit for Shelly. In 1993, she began her career with the Claremont Police Department as a Reserve Police Officer. Her hard work and potential was quickly recognized and she was hired as a full-time Officer shortly after.

Vander Veen was an Officer for seven years assigned to patrol where she got to know the community and became an integral part of the Department. She was promoted to Corporal and assigned to the Detective Bureau for three years. She was promoted to Sergeant and assigned for three years as a Field Supervisor and one year in the Administrative Services Bureau. She served as Lieutenant for seven years with five years supervising the Detective Bureau and two years as a Watch Commander in Patrol. She was then promoted to Captain in 2014 where she managed and led the Operations Division along with holding the responsibilities of budget, program, and policy management.

Throughout her career in law enforcement, Vander Veen has continued to pursue higher education and law enforcement certifications. She completed the eight-month POST Supervisory Leadership Institute, the 18 month-long POST Command College, and the POST Executive Development programs. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Law Enforcement Executive Development through California Southern University.

Vander Veen is a well-respected leader and brings a quiet confidence to her role as Captain. During her career at Claremont Police Department, she was selected by her peers as the Officer of the Year two times, was selected four times as the Police Department’s Supervisor of the Year, and received the City Employee of the Year award for 2013.

Moderated by:

Josh Rubenstein
Public Relations Director, Los Angeles Police Department

Josh Rubenstein brings his extensive media expertise and well-known enthusiasm for the LAPD to lead our strategic communications and media efforts in new and innovative ways. As the Commanding Officer of
the recently established Public Communications Group, Director Rubenstein oversees the Media Relations Division and the Digital Media Unit.

After 20 years as the Chief Meteorologist of KCAL 9 & CBS 2 News, Rubenstein made the transition to public service. Currently he reports to the Director of the Office of Constitutional Policing and Policy and is serving as a key communications strategist and advisor to LAPD command staff and Department personnel.

Rubenstein is a graduate of the University of Illinois-Urbana where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Arts & Communications and later earned a Master’s in Public Administration and Urban Planning from California State University, Northridge. He has also completed FEMA courses on the National Incident Management System and advised non-profits and other organizations on communications strategies.

He served for several years as the co-chair of North Hollywood Area’s Community Police Advisory Board and has been publicly recognized for his community engagement efforts by the Los Angeles City Council. He is a recipient of two Golden Mic Awards and won an Emmys for his coverage of the emergency landing of Jet Blue flight 292 at LAX and as the Meteorologist for the 4 p.m. Newscast on KCAL 9 News.

Building Communities: Managing the Inevitable Crisis


Sharon Papa
Police Chief, Hermosa Beach Police Department

Sharon Papa is a 38 year law enforcement veteran with a diverse background and experience. She worked for the Santa Monica Police Department, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department, and the Los Angeles Police Department before being sworn in as the Chief of Police in Hermosa Beach on October 1st, 2013.

Her executive level experience includes almost eight years as the Transit Police Chief in Los Angeles, seven years as an Assistant Chief of Police for LAPD Chief William Bratton, and three years as the Assistant Commanding Officer in LAPD Operations Valley Bureau. She has overseen Patrol Operations, Detective Divisions, Specialized Enforcement Teams, Support Services Personnel, Jail Operations, Media and Community Relations, Human Resources, and Budget and Finance.

She has been a champion of a wide variety of innovative programs such as the LAPD Military Liaison Program, which won national recognition and was presented with an award by President George W. Bush in the Oval Office of the White House. She also created the first Animal Cruelty Task Force in the country consisting of both Sworn Police Officers and City Animal Control Officers to investigate and prosecute animal abuse cases in the City of Los Angeles. Her team was featured on Animal Planet.

Chief Papa is a highly sought after public speaker and mentor. She routinely lectures at high schools, college campuses, and universities. She believes everyone has an obligation to share their knowledge and abilities with their subordinates. She regularly meets with employees to provide feedback and guidance so they can attain their career goals.

She is an active member of the Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles County and has served as president on two occasions.

Jacqueline Seabrooks
Police Chief, Santa Monica Police Department

Chief Seabrooks has more than three decades of progressively responsible municipal policing experience. She has been a police chief for the last nine years serving in two Southern California municipalities. Chief Seabrooks’ career in law enforcement includes sworn service with the California State Police Division, the Inglewood Police Department, and the Santa Monica Police Department.

After rising through the ranks and serving in a variety of administrative and operational positions during her 25-year tenure with the Santa Monica Police Department, Chief Seabrooks was appointed to the chief executive position at the Inglewood Police Department where she was not only the first African-American woman to serve as a municipal police chief in the history of the State of California, she was the first woman to hold the top executive position in Inglewood’s 100 plus year history. In another first, in May 2012, Chief Seabrooks rejoined the Santa Monica Police Department to serve as the City’s 17th Chief of Police.

Over the course of her tenure as a chief executive, Chief Seabrooks has consistently provided effective reform and transformational leadership as she implemented the tenets of 21 Century Policing. She successfully navigated a variety of policing challenges, including a “pattern and practices” investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, organizational downsizing, organizational restructuring, team building, staff development, and succession planning, while also being specifically attentive to fiscal conservatism, new and evolving crime trends, and the need to build and strengthen community-police partnerships.

Chief Seabrooks holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Public Policy and Administration from CSU, Dominguez Hills and CSU, Long Beach respectively. She is a graduate of the 186th Session of the FBI’s National Academy; she is also a graduate of the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar, PERF’s Senior Management Institute for Police, and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government and Driving Government Performance certificate programs. Chief Seabrooks holds memberships in the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), the California Police Chiefs Association, and the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs Association. Chief Seabrooks serves on the directors’ boards for various community organizations.

Sandra Spagnoli
Police Chief, Beverly Hills Police Department

Chief Sandra Spagnoli was appointed to the position of Chief of Police for the City of Beverly Hills on March 14, 2016, after serving as Police Chief with the City of San Leandro from 2011-2016 and the City of Benicia from 2007-2010. As Police Chief, she has been successful in implementing contemporary public safety initiatives ultimately reducing crime, incorporating grant funding to start new programs, developing community partnerships, enhancing neighborhood outreach and utilizing technology to enhance the delivery of police services.

Chief Spagnoli holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services Management. She attended the FBI Academy, FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar, WestPoint Leadership Academy, Executive Leaders Program and POST Command College. Since 2000, she has instructed at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Leadership Academy and is a member of the Peace Officers Standards and Training Advisory Committee, California Police Chiefs Technology Committee and the International Association of Police Chiefs Mid-size agency Region Chair.

Moderated by:

Erroll Southers
Director of Homegrown Violent Extremism Studies, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy

Dr. Erroll G. Southers is a former FBI Special Agent, Professor of the Practice of Governance and Director of Homegrown Violent Extremism Studies in the Safe Communities Institute at the Sol Price School of Public Policy. He is also the Director of International Programs for the Department of Homeland Security National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE). Dr. Southers was President Barack Obama’s first nominee for Transportation Security Administration Assistant Secretary and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Deputy Director for Critical Infrastructure of the California Office of Homeland Security. He served as Assistant Chief of Homeland Security and Intelligence at the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department, police officer and gang investigator with the Santa Monica Police Department and enjoyed the distinction of being a member of FBI SWAT. Dr. Southers has testified before the full Congressional Committee on Homeland Security as a subject matter expert. As the author of Homegrown Violent Extremism, and contributing writer for The Hill, he is a noted counterterrorism expert and security analyst to a variety of media networks, lectures and consults around the world. Dr. Southers earned his undergraduate degree from Brown University, and he holds masters and doctoral degrees in public policy from USC.

Luncheon Keynote

Host, Michaela

For nine years, Pereira was the co-host of “KTLA Morning News,” Los Angeles’ number one rated morning newscast. During this time, this program won nine Emmy Awards for “Best Regularly Scheduled Daily News” and one for KTLA’s live coverage of the Rose Parade. In addition, Pereira has been awarded with three Radio & TV News Association Golden Mike Awards: in 2006 for live coverage of a news story, “Urban Farm Eviction,” and the Best Daytime News Broadcast in both 2004 and 2006. She was also honored with two Mark Twain Awards in 2004: “Best Live Coverage of a News Event, Hostage Standoff Mexican Consulate,” and the “Best 60 Minute Broadcast: KTLA Morning News.”

Prior to KTLA, Pereira was named anchor of the technology news program “TechLive” on TechTV in San Francisco in 2001. In 1999, she was the guest host and internet correspondent of Buena Vista’s “Ebert & the Movies.” Before that, she hosted “Internet Tonight” on ZDTV. Pereira made her news television debut in 1993 on Canada’s CHEK-TV in Victoria, B.C. as a beat reporter and host of a magazine program.
Beyond her broadcasting achievements, Pereira is active in several community organizations working with at-risk children and teens. She served as a member of the board of directors for the Long Beach Boys and Girls Club; an advisory board member of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), supporting children in foster care; and co-chair of the advisory board of Optimist Youth Home, providing services for troubled youth.

She’s been honored with numerous community awards including the Genii Award for Excellence in Broadcasting from Alliance for Women in Media, the Hollywood Community Leadership Award from The Hollywood Police Activities League and the Celebrity Philanthropist Award from Association of Fundraising Professionals. Pereira is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. Pereira is based in Los Angeles.

Michaela Pereira is the host of HLN’s new three-hour daily news program “Michaela.” Live from CNN’s Los Angeles bureau, the show airs from 11am-1pm ET/8-10 am PT. “Michaela” has an upbeat vibe with issue driven conversation, lively guests and breaking news. Michaela Pereira joined CNN in 2012 and was the co-host of “New Day” with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

Tweets … Storified