The Southern California city of Arcadia, where thousands of Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II, has named its first police chief of Japanese descent, according to a newspaper report Saturday.

Capt. Roy Nakamura, a 28-year veteran of the Arcadia Police Department, will get the top job when Chief Robert T. Guthrie retires on Jan. 9, the Los Angeles Times reported.

About 19,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans were temporarily held at Arcadia’s Santa Anita Park racetrack during the war. Most lived in converted horse stalls before being transferred to officially designated camps in California, Arizona and elsewhere.

“It’s progress,” said Nakamura, 56, of his promotion. “Obviously, I wasn’t here during those times, and not everything in history has been positive, but we’re also here to learn from our mistakes, and I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe in the city of Arcadia.”

Nakamura will also become the first Asian American police chief in the city of about 58,000 people where 61% of residents identify as Asian Americans, the Times said.

“I’m looking forward to the honor and privilege of leading the men and women of this department,” Nakamura said.


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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