Chief John Carli (Ret.)


Chief John Carli (Ret.) served as the Chief of Police of the Vacaville Police Department (CA) from April 2014 until his retirement in 2021, coming up through the ranks within his own agency. His career started with Vacaville in 1989 after graduating the Santa Rosa Police Academy. He spent his early years as a police officer patrolling the streets of Vacaville with his K9 partner, eventually serving as a field training officer and detective. While in Investigations, he was assigned to the Northern California Computer Crimes Task Force in Napa, California investigating computer crimes and identity theft. John promoted to Sergeant in 2003 and, over the next seven years, supervised patrol teams, the Critical Incident Negotiation Team, K9 Unit, Firearms Instructors, Police Technology, and the Office of Professional Standards.

Carli was instrumental in implementing body-worn cameras to all officers beginning in 2009. This gained national and state attention through the publishing of a department study on the issue of body-worn cameras and organizational trust, which was included in the US DOJ COPS report “Implementing a Body-worn Camera Program – Recommendations and Lessons Learned.”

Carli promoted to Lieutenant in 2010, joining the ranks of the command staff. During that time he led both the Field Operations Division and the Investigative Services Division. As the SWAT Commander during this period of time, he provided extensive tactical supervision and managed all special response teams within the department.

As Chief of a full service agency serving a community of approximately 100,000, Carli’s approach to community policing is both progressive and innovative. In 2016, he formed the Community Partnership Division and subsequent Community Response Unit using COPS funding, focusing on quality of life and homeless issues. Community engagement became a top priority, most notable through the successful use of Facebook and other social media outlets, which has gained Vacaville national attention due to the manner and level of community engagement that has garnered significant public engagement. Chief Carli chairs the Vacaville Homeless Roundtable and is outspoken in coalescing community groups and the faith-based organizations to address social issues placed at the feet of law enforcement.

Chief Carli earned a Master of Science Degree in Strategic Leadership and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice Management. He is a graduate of the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute for Police, and he was awarded the Executive Leadership Certificate by the California Department of Justice Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. Chief Carli is currently an active member of the California Police Chief’s Association and chairs the California Data Sharing Task Force, focusing on best practice strategies for law enforcement technology and information system sharing.

Chief Carli is an instructor at the Napa Community College Police Academy focusing on leadership, professionalism, and ethics. Carli teaches various law enforcement topics including computer crime investigations and Internet intelligence at conferences and training events nationwide. Chief Carli regularly speaks to law enforcement leaders and national stakeholders regarding best practices in law enforcement. Most relevant is his work regarding the law enforcement response to the national narrative on best practices in policing, crisis management and the media, particularly addressing controversial videos and public trust, as well as the use of social media for community engagement.