The city of Chula Vista recently appointed new Assistant Police Chief Phil Collum who is now the highest ranking openly LGBTQ+ law enforcement officer in San Diego County and rightfully is one of our Persons of the Year. Though born in Washington DC, Phil was raised in San Diego and has lived here since he was six years old. He has been in law enforcement for almost 30 years. Phil Collum was a late bloomer and came out when he was 26 years old; his parents have always given him their unconditional love and support. Phil is married to well-known San Diego businessman William Lopez, President of Alternative Strategies. They have been together for almost 15 years, and both had their parents at their wedding. Phil’s parents have always instilled in him to be a person of integrity and that has always been the core of his well-known and respected reputation.
When Phil came out to his then patrol partner he was met with a big hug and acceptance. In fact, Phil’s being openly gay was overwhelmingly accepted within the Chula Vista Police Department and there are more LGBTQ+ police officers in the department. Assistant Police Chief Collum has been the Executive Captain of the Executive Operations & Community Engagement Division which was established as a permanent division in Chula Vista over a year ago and he will remain as its Executive Captain. Phil’s role model of law enforcement is the current Police Chief Roxanna Kennedy who also made history as the first female police chief in her city and received wide praise when she made her Police Department the first in the county to require all police personnel to have “de-escalation tactics training”. Chief Kennedy has coined the phrase “the heart behind the badge” in her efforts to engage the Police Department with communities and neighborhoods and establish more contact, support, and dialogue.
If you know assistant police chief Phil Collum, it will come to no surprise that when the LGBTQ San Diego County News contacted him to inform him he had been selected as a person of the year, he was in Tijuana Mexico at an orphanage giving out Christmas presents to children. He has been a member of the highly respected Corazon de Vida, an U.S.-based foundation that supports orphanages throughout Baja California, Mexico for the last five years. Indeed, Phil is a very spiritual individual and is a member of the board of directors of Mission Gathering, a Christian Church in North Park.
Being an LGBTQ+ and African American police officer is not always well received and he has been called both “Uncle Tom” and the “N-word” by angry citizens. As for the Black Lives Matter movement, though he does not support all their stances he strongly believes in continuing dialogue and discussions with members of the organization. Assistant Chief Collum has also been very involved in the ongoing dialogue between law enforcement agencies in the county and LGBTQ+ activists. Chula Vista’s new Assistant Police Chief Phil Collum is not only a down to earth man of integrity but a true role model of what outstanding civic and community leadership is all about.