Rafu Staff Report
ALHAMBRA — Alhambra City Manager Mark Yokoyama has announced that he will retire effective Nov. 3.
Yokoyama, who assumed his current post in May 2016, previously served as chief of police and has worked in local government for a total of 30 years.
“At this point in my life both personally and professionally, the time was right to retire from local government,” Yokoyama told The Rafu Shimpo. “My goal was to retire healthy and happy and on my own terms and when things were good both personally and professionally. Everything was in alignment, so I felt the time was perfect for me to retire now.
“It certainly was a very rewarding career working with so many wonderful people in local government, but equally rewarding was working with communities to help improve their qualities of life for themselves, their families and neighborhoods.
“Now I say I am retiring, but that is from local government … I certainly plan to stay busy and active in the private sector. What they will be remains to be seen at the moment. In the meantime, I am going to take an end-of-season fishing trip to June Lake, enjoy the college football season and watch my kids and their own sports in high school.”
Asked about his major accomplishments, he said he would prefer to leave that determination to those he worked with, “but I will say having brought technology into local government, using social media for connecting and engaging with communities, working with our local schools to develop our youth, and also working on mental health issues in our local community were things I was proud we were able to actively play a part in.
“More recently as city manager, I am proud that we expanded our mental health teams to be city-wide and included a homeless liaison to help with issues of homeless. We also completed or began some very extensive infrastructure projects in our parks, on roads, alleys, and sidewalks, all of which are things that will improve local quality-of-life issues.”
His career has had its share of challenges and frustrations, Yokoyama acknowledged. “Day to day, people look to leaders and their local government for help, and the hardest thing to deal with is managing the diverse, differing and competing interests of people and groups in the community. Sometimes it’s priorities that are competing, sometimes it is rules or laws that do not allow for something, sometimes it is lack of funding and so on. It’s frustrating when you are left not being able to help someone to their complete satisfaction.”
Alhambra City Councilmember Barbara Messina told The Pasadena Star News, “He was outstanding. He was a great police chief, a great city manager and a great person. The employees all loved him, and he will be missed.”
While serving as city manager, Yokoyama was also a reserve deputy for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and he said he will probably continue in that capacity.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Yokoyama entered public service in 1986 when he attended the Police Academy at Golden West College. After graduating in 1987 and a short stint as a reserve officer with the Tustin and Laguna Beach police departments, he worked for the La Palma Police Department for 12 years, progressing through the ranks by working various field and administrative assignments. He last served as the supervisor for the Community Policing Unit and received the department’s Medal of Valor.
Yokoyama joined the Newark Police Department in Alameda County (San Francisco Bay Area) as a lieutenant in 1999 and was promoted to captain in 2002. Having served as both the operations and services division commander there, he has been credited with implementation of community-oriented policing, building and repairing community relations, developing police technology, and personnel development.
In 2003, Yokoyama returned to Southern California, joining the Cypress Police Department as a captain. He was promoted to chief of police in 2008. During his tenure, he continued his interest in developing police-community relationships, instituted technology initiatives, and furthered the implementation of contemporary policing philosophies and other crime-fighting strategies.
After serving the City of Cypress for eight years, he was selected to lead the Alhambra Police Department in 2011. He has been credited with enhancing community-oriented policing and community engagement in a culturally diverse community through various community programs and innovative outreach initiatives. During this time, the department received national and international accolades for its use of technology in an effort to build police-community relations.
As city manager, Yokoyama served as the chief advisor to the City Council and oversaw the day-to-day operations of 10 city departments, including the police and fire departments, with a $140 million budget and 400 employees.
Yokoyama holds an AA degree from Golden West College in police administration, a BA in public administration from the University of La Verne, an MA in behavioral science from CSU Dominguez Hills, and a second master’s degree in executive leadership from USC. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., LAPD West Point Leadership program, the Senior Management Institute for Police, P.O.S.T. Command College, P.O.S.T. Supervisory Leadership Institute, and the USC Delinquency Control Institute.
Yokoyama has been a community college and police academy instructor since 1990, training over 10,000 police recruits, students and professionals across the state, and is an adjunct faculty member at Golden West College, Fullerton College, and Rio Hondo College.
During his career, Yokoyama has received a number of honors, including: selection to U.S.-Japan Council’s Japanese American Leadership Delegation (2016); 49th Assembly District 2014 Asian Pacific Islander American Month Heritage Award; Alhambra Education Foundation Service to Education Award (2014); Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow (2012); Golden West College Alumni Pillar of Achievement (2009); County of Orange Medal of Valor (1993); Award of Law Enforcement Professional Achievement from California Peace Officers Association (1993); Police Officer of the Year from La Palma Police Department (1990); and Police Academy Honor Recruit (Golden West College Police Academy, 1987).
Active in the communities he has served, Yokoyama has participated in leadership positions for the Boys and Girls Club, local Lions and Optimist clubs, and other civic organizations, as well as being a past supervisorial appointee to the Orange County Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board and past president of the Golden West College Foundation. He is a past member of the California Police Chiefs Association, Los Angeles County Police Chiefs Association and California Peace Officers Association, where he served on the executive board for 10 years, including as association president. He is a current member of Alhambra Rotary Club and a 10-year member of Rotary International.