Tuesday, May 22 , 2018, 8:24 pm | Fair 59º


Local News

Santa Barbara Names New Police Chief: San Diego Police Captain Lori Luhnow

Luhnow is the first woman police chief in Police Department history and will start work July 18

Lori Luhnow Click to view larger
Lori Luhnow

The Santa Barbara Police Department will soon have its first woman as chief.

San Diego Police Department Capt. Lori Luhnow was appointed by Santa Barbara City Administrator Paul Casey and unanimously approved by the City Council Tuesday afternoon.

“I think that she has an outstanding breadth of history as a police officer and captain within the department, and would be a good fit for our community as well,” Casey told the council.

“She’s very outgoing, personable, and I think we all look forward to working with her,” he said.

Casey said Luhnow will start her new job July 18.

Luhnow, 50, has been with the San Diego department for 27 years, and over that time has overseen its investigations, traffic, patrol, and special operations divisions. Currently, she is responsible for the Regional Police Academy.

In Santa Barbara, Luhnow will assume command of a staff of 200 sworn and civilian members as well as a budget of $42 million.

"I am proud and honored to become a part of the Santa Barbara Police Department and the community," she said in a statement. "Santa Barbara has so much to offer with a long history of being one of the safest coastal communities in America.

"I look forward to working with our community members, city leadership, and Police Department personnel to ensure Santa Barbara remains a safe and thriving city."

At the helm since February has been John Crombach, a retired assistant sheriff for Ventura County and former Oxnard police chief, who took over when Cam Sanchez after 15 years in the position.

Sanchez expedited his retirement plans after being injured in a vehicle accident when a wheel went through his windshield.

A nationwide search for Sanchez’ permanent replacement ensued, resulting in 91 candidates.

Crombach received high praise from city officials upon his interim appointment for his efforts to boost morale during the department’s recruiting struggles and perception of a lack of leadership.

Crombach was praised again at Tuesday’s City Council meeting for his leadership style, and told Noozhawk that the department’s hiring and recruiting efforts have been “going well.”

The department is still vetting people for October’s police academy, he said, and is interviewing officers looking to transfer laterally to Santa Barbara from other police departments.

“I’m very pleased,” he said of the process.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman 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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