At a virtual Town Hall meeting on Aug. 13, La Mesa Council member Bill Baber interrupted his time, asking if a text that he had received saying that La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez resigned was correct. City Manager Greg Humora confirmed that Vasquez will retire effective Aug. 27.
Vasquez has 35 years of law enforcement, serving more than five years at the LMPD. In a press release, Vasquez delayed his retirement decision when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March. He opted to remain in his leadership post to assist the Police Department and the City of La Mesa with navigating a situation that the nation had not seen for more than a century.
Chief Vasquez thanked the men and women of the La Mesa Police Department for their tremendous support and commitment to the community it serves.
“Over the past five years, our team has worked very hard to keep the citizens of La Mesa safe. The decrease in property and violent crimes in the City from 2015 to 2019 has been the largest decrease of all incorporated cities in San Diego County.” Stated Vasquez in the press release. “This is extraordinary, especially when you take into consideration that the La Mesa Police Department is one of the lower staffed departments in the County. Crime decreases of this nature are only achieved through hard work and collaboration with the citizens we serve.”
Chula Vista Chief of Police Roxana Kennedy said that she has always admired Vasquez as a leader ” of unmatched integrity and compassion.”
“He is known throughout our county law enforcement community for being a leader who places community first by fostering community engagement, promoting problem-solving, and reducing crime,” stated Kennedy.
Kennedy also serves as president of the Police Chief’s and Sheriff’s Association and said during these unprecedented times, Vasquez showed what calm and steady leadership and experience can mean to a community.
“Despite the recent challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest, he has shown an unwavering commitment to serving the people of La Mesa with heart and dedication,” she said.
In 1986, Walt Vasquez began his law enforcement career as a Police Officer for the San Diego Police Department. Vasquez rose to the rank of Assistant Chief before being sworn in as La Mesa’s eleventh Chief of Police in April 2015.