Chief William Lansdowne served as Chief of the San Diego Police Department for ten years and six months before retiring on February 25, 2014. San Diego, with a population of 1.3 million people, is the seventh largest city in the United States, and second largest city in California. Chief Lansdowne began his law enforcement career in 1966, when he joined the San Jose Police Department. As he learned policing, he was also serving his state as member of the California National Guard (1966-72). He rose steadily through the ranks as SJPD, commanding a variety of units and divisions – and developing a reputation as a person who cared tremendously about his officers and the community they policed. He was accessible and he was not afraid to make decisions. Those skills eventually elevated him to the position of Assistant Chief.
In 1994, a new challenge presented itself. Chief Lansdowne left San Jose to head the police department in Richmond, CA, a diverse community of 93,000. During his five years in Richmond, homicides dropped by 50% and department overtime were reduced by $800,000 in just two years.
In August 1998, Chief Lansdowne returned to San Jose as that city’s “top cop.” He continued to emphasize community involvement, holding his department open to public scrutiny. While he was chief, San Jose became nationally recognized as the safest large city in America.
Over the years, Chief Lansdowne has expanded his expertise and his reputation as one of the foremost law enforcement professionals in the country. He is a graduate of the 22nd Session of the FBI National Executive Institute (FBI NEI), 165th Session of the FBI National Academy and 33rd Session of the FBI Law Enforcement Development Seminar. He has served on a variety of state and national boards, including the Major Cities Chiefs and the National Conference for Community and Justice.
In 2014, Lansdowne received the prestigious MCCA Leadership Award, which recognized him for his leadership on a national level and for his many contributions to the MCCA.
In June 2015, Lansdowne received the celebrated Penrith Award by National Executive Institute Associates for his important impact on law enforcement.