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Former Colleagues Remember Late Santa Maria Police Chief Aubrey Patterson

Retired longtime officer, who died last month at 74, served as interim chief in the 1990s

A retired Santa Maria police officer, who served as interim chief for several months in the 1990s, died last month. In spite of his reluctance to take credit, he is being remembered for his role mentoring multiple officers.

The late Aubrey Patterson, a retired Santa Maria police officer and interim chief, is remembered by former colleagues for his role in mentoring fellow officers.
The late Aubrey Patterson, a retired Santa Maria police officer and interim chief, is remembered by former colleagues for his role in mentoring fellow officers.

Longtime Santa Maria Valley resident Aubrey Patterson, 74, died April 22, his family said in an obituary.

He worked for the Santa Maria Police Department for 28 years, starting as a patrolman and finishing as a chief.

Cmdr. Kendall Greene said Patterson’s mentoring continued after the former chief left the police force.

“If it wasn’t for Aubrey Patterson, I wouldn’t be a police officer today,” Greene told Noozhawk.

“Sometimes he was just an ear to which I could vent,” he added.

Patterson shared “invaluable words of wisdom,” and helped Greene learn to deal with disappointment.

“I’m just thankful for the advice he gave me,” he said. “He’s a good man and he will be missed.”

Mike Cordero, a retired police lieutenant and former city councilman, also considered Patterson a mentor.

“You knew you could trust him and you knew he had high standards that you had to live up to in order to work for him,” he said.

“He was just an all-around great guy,” Cordero added.

Patterson’s friends and former co-workers recalled the retired officer’s love of sports. He played on SMPD’s baseball team.

“He had a great sense of humor, a high standard of work ethic, and he had clear, high demands for the people who worked for him,” Cordero said. “He had expectations and he didn’t hold back in telling you ... I learned a great deal from him and I always felt that I could trust him.”

Patterson also was “an outstanding homicide investigator” when he worked in the detectives’ bureau, he added.

In a cost-saving move, for a time the city made the police chief also manage the Fire Department. At that time, Patterson was named department chief for the law enforcement agency while Dan Shiner oversaw both agencies, according to Cordero.

After Shiner left in 1998, Patterson filled in for several months as police chief until a permanent replacement could be hired. However, his name is not on the official list of chiefs on the department’s website.

Before joining the Police Department, Patterson served in the Air Force for eight years.

While stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Patterson met and married his wife, Mary Sue. They have a daughter, Jeania Ann Reasner, and a son, Joey Patterson, along with three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Patterson also is survived by a brother, Jack.

At Patterson’s request, no funeral is planned.

“He didn’t want a big deal made of his accomplishments in life,” his obituary said. “He also didn’t want a big deal made, he said, when he was called home.

“He wants no funeral. He said he’d like it if his family and friends would remember him once in awhile with a smile and maybe do a favor for someone to try and make their journey just a little better.”

Funeral arrangements were handled by Dudley-Hoffman Mortuary of Santa Maria.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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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