Chief Rick Braziel (Ret.)


Rick Braziel served as chief of the Sacramento Police Department (SPD) from 2008 until his retirement in December 2012. A 33-year veteran of the SPD, including 18 years as a member of the executive leadership team, he held a variety of ranks. As deputy chief, his assignments included the Office of Operations, Office of Investigations, Office of Technical Services, and the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

As chief of police, Braziel refocused the SPD mission, including redesign of crime reduction strategies, deployment, and resources resulting in the reduction of Part I crime by 21% while reducing department staffing by 28%. Under his leadership, the SPD increased transparency and community involvement through the creation of a Police Advisory Committee, Interfaith Leaders Council, Youth Advisory Committee, town hall meetings, online citizen surveys, and a redesigned website with interactive features.

Braziel’s commitment to community policing is illustrated in his book, Cop Talk: Essential Communication Skills for Community Policing. He is also a nationally recognized instructor on the topic. He consults and instructs for Humboldt State University in team-building, communication skills, community policing, and leadership.

Braziel conducts organization assessments and critical incident reviews. He was the lead investigator in the review of the police response to Christopher Dorner. He was a member of a team reviewing the riots in Ferguson Missouri and the St. Louis County Police Collaborative Reform Initiative. Rick also completed a review of the Stockton Police response to the Bank of the West robbery and hostage taking and the review of the December 2, 2015 terrorists attack in San Bernardino. Rick worked with the Washington State Patrol on the Trooper Recruitment and Retention Study. He is currently the Inspector General for Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department and serves as Vice Chair on California’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST).

Braziel received his BA and MA in communication studies from California State University, Sacramento. In 2006, he received a master of arts in security studies from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. His thesis resulted in a $3.1 million grant toward the creation of communities of learning.

In addition to numerous commendations, Braziel received the Silver Medal of Valor in 1988, Distinguished Service Award in 2001, and a Unit Citation in 2002. He was named alumni of the year by California State University, Sacramento.