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Santa Barbara City Administrator Still Considering Interim Police Chief Candidates

Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez will retire next month, but, as of this week, the city doesn’t have anyone to replace him.

City Administrator Paul Casey said Thursday he was still considering his appointment to interim police chief, but he wouldn’t provide any other details, including whether the temporary chief would come from inside or outside the department.

He also wouldn’t commit to having a decision made by Feb. 19 — Sanchez’s last day in the job he’s held the past 15 years.

“It’s not imminent,” Casey told Noozhawk of his decision. “It takes a little while.” 

Doing background checks and interviews takes time, he said, noting he didn’t want to “tip his cap” to anyone about possible plans.

Sanchez, who turns 63 in February, announced his retirement last October.

“It’s about time after 35-plus years,” he said at the time. “I just felt it was a good time to enjoy the rest of my life.”

Sanchez appeared before Santa Barbara City Council at Tuesday’s meeting to give his last police department update. 

He’s been with police department since Nov. 1, 2000, beginning his law enforcement career in 1980 with the Los Angeles Police Department before serving as police chief for Hollister and San Rafael.

Much of this week’s meeting was spent outlining the police department’s struggle to recruit and retain officers, and deal with a high rate of injuries.

The city hopes to hire 14 new officers by June.

Sanchez’s pending departure was mentioned in a heartfelt address but nothing was said about who might temporarily or permanently replace him.

Sgt. Riley Harwood confirmed the police chief’s last day and that Casey hasn’t indicated who he’s considering for the interim position.

“No one in the department is involved in that,” Harwood said.

Casey said an interim police chief would be announced in a press release in the coming weeks. 

The search for a permanent candidate will start after that.

Casey said he would bring his choice for that post to City Council in closed session, but he guessed that wouldn’t be until June or July at the earliest.

“As soon I can,” he said. “It just takes time.” 

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.

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