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Michael Ishii

Chief of Police
Hawthorne Police Department

Chief Michael Ishii was appointed as the Hawthorne Interim Police Chief in October 2018, succeeding Chief Robert Fager, who served as the Police Chief from 2010 to 2018. He was selected as the Chief of Police in January 2019. 

With a complement of over 160 employees, Chief 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.

Chief 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 and Operations Divisions along with the City’s Information Technology Services Bureau.

During his assignment as the Administrative and Operations Captain, Chief Ishii helped transform the department into a community policing driven culture.  He led teams that implemented nationally-recognized social media programs, innovative community policing programs, and created the Safe Parks Initiative where security cameras and free WiFi were installed in all of the major parks in Hawthorne. 

In 2011, Chief 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 1st Wednesday of October).  As a co-founder of the program, Chief 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.

Chief Ishii holds an MS Degree from California State University Dominguez Hills in Negotiations/Conflict Management and a BA Degree from California State University Long Beach in Communication Studies - Interpersonal and Organizational Communication.    

Chief Ishii was born in Japan and grew up on a US military base near Tokyo. He is fluent in Japanese.

He is a member of the Los Angeles County Police Chief’s Association [LACPCA], and holds membership within the International (IACP), California (CPCA) Police Chief’s Association, and the National Association of Asian American Law Enforcement Commanders (NAAALEC).

Michael Ishii’s Session(s):


4:20 pm–5:00 pm — Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Coffee with a Cop - How One Event in 2011 Turned into One of the Most Successful Community Policing Programs in the World

Join Coffee with a Cop Co-Founders for a session on how best to prepare and implement Coffee with a Cop at your Department as well as sharing different community policing program ideas to build value for your agency.

You will learn current best practices, do’s and don’ts, communication issues, Officer “buy-in” and how Coffee with a Cop can kick start community policing philosophies in your department. Real-world examples will be presented on successes and failures (we’ve seen many) of Coffee with a Cop events from around the country. We will cover unique perspectives on how to use non-traditional social media posts to brand your department targeted at different segments of your community and the challenges of getting agency buy-in on Community Policing programs.


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