Independence HS, Class of 1991
Assistant Chief of Police, City of Santa Clara
Wahid Kazem immigrated to the United States from Afghanistan as a refugee in 1981. Starting out in ESL classes, he attended all East Side public schools and graduated from Independence High School in 1991. He then went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from San José State University (SJSU) in 1995 while going through the ROTC program. He would later return to SJSU to earn a Master of Science degree in 2002.
Wahid was hired as a Santa Clara police officer in September of 1996 and has worked a wide variety of assignments over his 27-year career. As a detective, Wahid took a special interest in working cold case homicides. He is a past recipient of the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers Outstanding Service Award for his dedicated work that led to the closure and successful prosecution of several cold cases, including a well-known 1977 murder of a 17-year-old Santa Clara High School student. This investigation was later featured on the Investigation Discovery television network show Murder Book.
Wahid was promoted to Assistant Chief of Police in June of 2020. As a police executive, he has commanded all major divisions of the police department and has served as the department’s Public Information Officer and as the Acting Communications Operations Manager overseeing the 911-Dispatch Center. He’s currently overseeing law enforcement preparations for Super Bowl 60 and the FIFA World Cup, which will both be held at Levi’s Stadium in 2026.
Wahid is a proud veteran of the United States Army, having served as a commissioned officer until his Honorable Discharge in July of 2003. He is a graduate of the prestigious FBI National Academy held at Quantico, Virginia, and the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute for Police held at Boston University. He currently serves as a law enforcement liaison for the Bay Area team of the International Rescue Committee and is the past president of the Santa Clara Optimist International club.