HAWTHORNE — Michael Ishii was unanimously appointed by the Hawthorne City Council as the city’s police chief on Jan. 22.
Ishii was appointed as interim police chief in October 2018, succeeding Chief Robert Fager, who served from 2010 to 2018.
With a complement of over 160 employees, Ishii oversees a department that prides itself on implementing innovative ways to providing public safety services along with continuing to evolve and meet the challenges of present day law enforcement.
Ishii has been with the Hawthorne Police Department since 1990, first as a reserve officer and as a full-time officer in 1992. His experience encompasses an array of assignments including motor officer, field training officer, Internal Affairs sergeant, public information officer, Patrol Bureau watch commander, and Detective Bureau commander.
He was promoted to captain in 2010 and has overseen both the Administration Division and Operations Division along with the city’s Information Technology Services Bureau.
During his assignment as the administrative and operations captain, Ishii helped transform the department into a community policing-driven culture. He led teams that implemented nationally recognized social media programs and innovative community policing programs, and created the Safe Parks Initiative, in which security cameras and free wi-fi were installed in all of the major parks in Hawthorne.
In 2011, Ishii was part of the Hawthorne PD team that helped create the national “Coffee with a Cop” program, which has gone on to become one of the most successful community policing programs with events held in all 50 states, 16 countries, and in four languages.
He also developed the National Coffee with a Cop website and currently oversees the National Coffee with a Cop Day (held annually across the country on the first Wednesday of October). As a co-founder of the program, Ishii has developed an expertise in branding, marketing, and what it takes to be a global brand manager for the Coffee with a Cop Nonprofit Corporation.
Ishii holds a MS degree from CSU Dominguez Hills in negotiations/conflict management and a BA degree from CSU Long Beach in communication studies-interpersonal and organizational communication.
Ishii was born in Japan and grew up on a U.S. military base near Tokyo. He is fluent in Japanese.
He is a member of the Los Angeles County Police Chiefs’ Association, and holds membership within the International Association of Chiefs of Police, California Police Chiefs’ Association, and National Association of Asian American Law Enforcement Commanders.