The City of Lompoc announced Wednesday that it has hired a new police chief who most likely will take the post in September.
Patrick Walsh, who goes by Pat, has been appointed to replace retiring Police Chief Larry Ralston, who served as chief for two years, City Administrator Patrick Wiemiller said in a statement.
Walsh is currently a captain with the Portland, Ore., Police Bureau and has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience, first serving eight years with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, and the last 22 years with the Portland Police Bureau.
Walsh grew up in Camarillo and has family on the Central Coast.
“I am very excited to work for the citizens and staff of Lompoc,” Walsh said in a statement. “Lompoc police have an excellent reputation in the law enforcement world, and I look forward to continuing that tradition. I have always enjoyed the Central Coast, and Lompoc has always been one of my favorite places.”
Walsh's current assignment in Portland involves overseeing the Tactical Operations Division, which includes units like gang enforcement, explosives disposal, Special Emergency Response Team, gun task force, crisis negotiations team and air support.
His prior areas of responsibility have included overseeing the department's patrol division, Department of Justice Compliance, and the Office of Accountability and Professional Standards, the statement said.
Walsh also has experience working in narcotics and vice units, including as an undercover narcotics investigator, and street patrol.
“We were blessed to have a talented pool of police chief candidates to choose from, but the consensus of those involved in the interview process was that Pat Walsh was the best fit for the needs of the Lompoc community and for the Lompoc Police Department,” Wiemiller said. “These are exciting times for Lompoc in terms of economic growth and public safety enhancement, and I am pleased to have Pat Walsh as part of our leadership team in the coming years.”
Walsh has a bachelor’s degree in management, communication and leadership from Concordia University, and a master’s degree in security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School and the Center for Homeland Defense and Security.
Walsh and his wife, Catherine, have been married for 29 years, and they have two adult children, Matthew, 28, and Lauren, 24.
The city said it will be completing a rigorous background check, and expects Walsh to start in September.