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The Leadership Beat: ‘The way we treat people within our organization influences how they treat others’

Deputy Chief Lance Brede shares how mentorship shaped his path and his vision for a transparent, community-focused police force

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Deputy Chief Brede shakes the hand of a new FPD academy graduate at the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office graduation ceremony.

The following content is part of Police1’s Police Leader Playbook, a resource aimed at helping new law enforcement leaders move beyond basic management and supervision skills and become inspirational leaders with integrity and passion. Through a handful of questions presented by Police1, veteran leaders reflect on their early days in leadership roles and offer advice, while newer leaders detail their experiences taking on a new position. Email to offer your insights for the Police Leader Playbook.

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Deputy Chief Lance A. Brede

Lance A. Brede has served as the Fremont Police Department’s Deputy Chief since June 20, 2022. Lance previously served the East Bay Regional Park District from December 1993 through June 2022. Most recently, as a Police Captain, Lance had management responsibility for the Operations Division, including Patrol Services, Budget, Air Support Unit, Investigations Unit, Special Enforcement Unit, Volunteer Trail Safety Patrol, and special policing contracts with East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), San Francisco Water District (SFWD) and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Lance obtained his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration and holds a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Columbia Southern University.

Fremont Police Department is a full-service law enforcement agency that serves a diverse population of 230,504 residents as well as services by contract to other agencies. The Fremont Police Department has 329.5 full-time employees, of which 204 are sworn positions. In 2023, the agency had 110,628 calls for service.

What was the incident or person in your career that put you on the path to becoming a deputy chief?

Throughout my 30-year career, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many influential leaders and mentors. Their guidance has played a crucial role in shaping my outlook, pushing me to think differently, and fostering a continuous desire for growth and development. During my time as a sergeant, one leader encouraged me to consider taking on an administrative role. Prior to that point in my career, I had served as a field training officer, mutual aid mobile field force member, tactical flight officer, detective, SWAT operator, patrol sergeant and in several instructor positions. While I was very comfortable in these roles, they were predominantly operations focused. After a thoughtful discussion and realizing the value of expanding my expertise, I decided to apply for the administrative position, fully aware that it would challenge me. Being selected for this opportunity marked a significant turning point in my career.


Deputy Chief Brede and Chief Washington pose for a quick photo at Fremont PD headquarters.

What do you (or did you) want to accomplish, improve or make better in your first 30 days as deputy chief, 6 months as deputy chief and year as deputy chief?

The role of deputy police chief is undoubtedly rewarding, but it is also all-encompassing in its scope, complexity and commitment. After spending 29 years at a neighboring police department, I was eager to share my unique experience and knowledge with Fremont Police Department. I looked to build relationships and understand the nuances of the department and city, and that started with a clear understanding of the goals and strategies outlined by Fremont Police Chief Sean Washington, the challenges faced by the city in general and the challenges faced by city leaders. This includes:

  • Building relationships within the department and better understanding the challenges faced.
  • The desire to have a police department that is community-focused
  • Complete transparency with our community
  • High public expectations and accountability
  • Maintaining public trust and confidence
  • Legal compliance issues
  • Neighborhood concerns about livability, fear and cleanliness
  • Collaborative approach to addressing the homelessness crisis
  • Business and political concerns about public safety
  • Organizational image
  • Budget limitations
  • Service-related issues commensurate with revitalization and development
  • Rapid advances in information technology

With an optimistic and forward-thinking approach, I set out to achieve the following goals during my first 100 days as deputy chief. These goals were not just personal aspirations but a commitment to support the chief’s vision and the leadership of the City of Fremont:

  • Continue to enhance working relationships within FPD and with other city departments and community service providers.
  • Identify ways to maximize information technologies and embrace new ones.
  • Establish priority to improve FPD’s critical incident and disaster preparedness response.
  • Improve existing communication, cooperation and collaboration between the City and Fremont Unified School District.
  • Begin the conversation about attaining law enforcement accreditation.
  • Re-think employee training and development strategies.
  • Identify strategies for effective recruitment.
  • Continue, support and enhance FPD’s furtherance of City Council priorities and community initiatives.

As I stepped into the role of deputy chief, it was crucial to seamlessly integrate into the organization and maintain the positive momentum and relationship that FPD already has with the rest of the city. Given the turbulent political environment, high community expectations and the organization’s need to adjust to a “new normal,” it’s essential to focus on optimism, consistency and clear direction that the personnel can see, feel and believe in.

The goals and activities I set to be accomplished in my first 100 days (and beyond) brought forth the opportunity for a seamless, informative and productive beginning. I was focused on a smooth transition to ensure FPD’s ability to continue moving forward and enhance Chief Washington’s efforts to make informed, well-thought decisions. Finally, I set out to establish a working philosophy, workplace atmosphere, and quality of leadership toward realizing these outcomes:

  • A renewed sense of pride and confidence in and within FPD
  • Enhanced relationships and collaboration internally and in the community
  • Improved effectiveness and efficiency of police operations and resources
  • Increased preparedness to handle crises and keep up with the pace of technology

Deputy Chief Brede mingles with community members at FPD’s National Night Out.

How are you creating an organizational culture people want to be a part of?

The Fremont Police Department has always been a model organization in our region. I have a strong desire to maintain that reputation and go well beyond it to be an example of excellence nationwide. Our success can be attributed to dynamic leadership, diverse perspectives, contemporary training, strong mentoring and development, innovation, accreditation and meaningful relationships in our community. Being on the cutting edge of policing is undoubtedly a path to the best service, earning law enforcement colleagues’ esteem certainly creates pride and responding to the Fremont community induces public confidence. These outcomes are realistic and attainable, especially when investing in your people. When members of the organization feel valued and supported, it breeds an environment that people are proud to be part of and want to promote. Speaking of which, we’re hiring! Come work with me. See

What’s your process for making major decisions?

To better support the chief and provide comprehensive assistance, it is essential to maintain a broad perspective and understand how all the different parts of the department collaborate to form a cohesive whole. Additionally, having a comprehensive understanding of city, council and community expectations factors into decision-making. For instance, the decision to implement a new policy starts with understanding the need and intent behind it and identifying the stakeholders involved in its development. Consistent communication goes a long way in helping members understand the “why” behind the policy, which produces buy-in. Ensuring that your department’s subject matter experts are involved in its development is vital to ensure the policy is comprehensive, looking at current case law, requirements and best practices. Once the policy has been developed and is still in draft form, it’s a good practice to collect feedback from your labor groups, legal department and risk manager (if needed) to ensure questions are asked and answered before its rollout.


Deputy Chief Brede greets a young Fremont family at FPD’s Ice Cream with a Cop event.

How do you show your personnel that you are leading with these and other value-based behaviors?

I firmly believe that you receive what you give. The way we treat people within our organization influences how they treat others. When we treat our staff with respect and empower them to have a say in their police department and community, they will, in turn, treat our community the same way. Leadership should be present at every level and demonstrated at every level. It all begins with us.

Like any other business, our staff needs to understand not just what we do or how we do it but WHY we exist. Sometimes, in policing, we forget that. We don’t just exist to enforce the laws, although that is a significant part of our job. We exist because we have communities to serve. If we remind our officers why they got into this noble profession in the first place, provide outstanding leadership, hold them to that standard, and have a community that appreciates them, it will be reflected in their actions.

It’s important to meet regularly with the boards of directors of the various bargaining units representing police department employees. Establishing a routine, non-crisis-driven schedule of meetings allow relationships and familiarity to flourish. Building lines of communication and trust, particularly when everything is OK or labor negotiations are not at the forefront, helps when things are controversial. In addition, the meetings should be used to build transparency within the department and keep employees informed about the city’s state in real-time. The messages that I’m conveying must be clear and concise. If an employee doesn’t understand what or why something needs to be done, it can cause misinterpretation and misinformation to be disseminated throughout the department.

Lightning leadership round

What is a leadership book, podcast or seminar you’ve found invaluable?

Simon Sinek is an author and podcaster whose book “Start with Why” contains great leadership principles that easily translate to a variety of industries and businesses, including policing.

This collection offers a great introduction to Simon Sinek’s leadership philosophies

How do you organize your day and stay on schedule?

I’m fortunate to have a high-performing team to which I feel comfortable delegating various projects and assignments. This helps me focus on my daily schedule and handle any high-priority or high-liability issues that may come up unannounced from the police chief, city manager, or elected officials.

If you knew the budget request would be approved, what’s a big purchase you’d make for your department today?

Understanding the backdrop of a highly supportive city council, city leadership and community members, as well as recent significant upgrades to our computer-aided dispatch (CAD), Real-Time Information Center, and body-worn camera technology, I would look to make a big purchase in expanding our campus to include more office space, locker rooms and sleeping quarters.

What is one way leaders can show they care about their people?

Get to know your people, beyond the uniform they wear, every day. This includes listening to them intently when you’re in conversation with them and providing them with periodic notes of appreciation describing how proud you are of the selfless and heroic work they accomplish daily.

At the end of the workday, how do you recharge?

My recharge always starts with spending time with my family and, depending on the day, a workout.

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