Sunday, October 22 , 2017, 11:31 am | Fair 69º


Local News

Santa Maria Interim Police Chief Ralph Martin Picked for Permanent Job

Interim Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin has been named to fill the permanent position, the city announced Monday morning.

Ralph Martin
Ralph Martin

City Manager Rick Haydon announced Monday in a news release that Martin was chosen as the finalist after narrowing the search down to two applicants last week.

“The city conducted a thorough recruitment process, we had an excellent candidate pool in which to choose from and were impressed by the caliber of candidates that were interviewed,” Haydon said in the release. “However, at the end of the day, the consensus from both rating panels clearly showed Ralph Martin at the top of the eligibility list.”

Martin, who took over in August as the city’s interim police chief, told Noozhawk earlier this month that he put his name in for the permanent post to help continue positive change in a department that has experienced public scrutiny and internal turmoil in recent months.

Martin made the first cut in the search process earlier this month, along with five other candidates from outside the Central Coast.

Martin, a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department commander, replaced longtime, controversial Chief Danny Macagni in what was supposed to be a six-month stay.

Haydon said Monday that Martin hands-down exhibited all the leadership skills that community members said they desired during two community forums. Martin’s experience with gangs, communication skills, and the high respect he has already received from the community were key deciding factors, Haydon added.

“I look forward to working with Ralph for years to come,” Haydon said.

Martin, 61, came out of a three-year retirement in August, leaving his wife and some of his six grown children who live in Orange County.

“It is an honor for me to have been selected as the permanent police chief for Santa Maria,” Martin said in a statement. “I look forward to the challenges of leading the men and women of this fine department and working closely with city leaders and community groups. I would ask that you (the public) join me and the members of the Santa Maria Police Department in forging a strong working relationship, as we continue to improve our services by providing the best public safety possible for all residents and businesses alike.”

Mayor Larry Lavagnino said Monday that Martin was the best choice for the job.

“I think it’s a great choice,” Lavagnino said. “I think he did a great job. I’m glad that he’s going to stay on.”

Martin is scheduled to be sworn in as the city’s new police chief at the beginning of the Dec. 18 City Council meeting.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >