Tony Lee, a second-generation Korean American and the first Asian American chief in the UCLA Police Department, is featured in the Meet UCPD series as part of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The series spotlights people in the department.

Lee first became interested in law enforcement while in college, when he was competing on the national karate tournament circuit. “I looked into which type of career would fit my personality — public service, making a difference in the lives of others and something exciting that would fulfill my adrenaline needs,” he said. “I took one ride-along with a police department, and I was hooked.”

He served as second-in-command at the Beverly Hills Police Department before joining UCPD in 2017. Lee has since prioritized working with the community to make UCLA a safer campus, creating the Threat Management Unit to monitor workplace safety issues such as violence, harassment and stalking. He has also mandated a one-week mental health training, so officers are ready to help de-escalate situations. 

Lee holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from California State University Los Angeles, and a master’s in public administration from California State University Northridge.

Read the full profile on the UCLA Police Department’s website.