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Santa Barbara Asks for Public’s Input on New Police Chief

Chief Cam Sanchez is retiring in February and city will conduct nationwide search for a replacement

Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez, seen here at a police and fire commission meeting, is retiring in February after 15 years with the city.
Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez, seen here at a police and fire commission meeting, is retiring in February after 15 years with the city. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk file photo)

With Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez retiring in February, the city of Santa Barbara is asking members of the public what kind of candidate they’d like to see as his replacement.

Police Chief Cam Sanchez, who has served the department for 15 years, announced in October he would be retiring from his position in February 2016.

“It’s about time after 35-plus years,” Sanchez told Noozhawk at the time. 

“I just felt it was a good time to enjoy the rest of my life.”

Sanchez, who is 62, also said that retirement had been on his mind for a few months, but that a recent vehicle accident that injured him, his wife and son-in-law brought that goal into focus.

Now, the city is asking the public what they want to see in an ideal police chief as they start the recruitment process.

City Administrator Paul Casey told Noozhawk Friday that the city will do public outreach and solicit input from police department employees. 

A nationwide search will follow.  

Casey said it’s likely an interim chief will be appointed while the recruitment and selection process continues.

“I suspect it will take six months before we have someone officially on board,” he said.

Regan Williams from the executive search firm Bob Murray & Associates will help with the recruitment. 

That firm was also used in 2011 when San Bernardino was searching for a new police chief.

Sanchez applied for and was a finalist for the position, news of which created a stir locally.

He was ultimately not chosen for the job.

In a statement, Santa Barbara city officials said Williams is is a law enforcement veteran and has recruited a number of police chiefs successfully as part of his work.

He’s helped recruit police chiefs in cities throughout California, Oregon, Washington and Arizona, as well as for the police departments of numerous universities and colleges.

Because of the importance of the position to the community and the department, Williams will be gathering “input from a broad base of stakeholders in developing an ideal candidate profile,” the statement said.

The city is asking the public to participate in the process by completing an online survey, which can be found here, or attending a community meeting that will be held in a few weeks. 

That meeting will be held on Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Louise Lowry Davis Center, 1232 De La Vina St., Santa Barbara.

The public is asked to submit input by Jan. 8, and people wanting to submit hard copies of their comments can bring them to the City Clerk’s office located at Santa Barbara City Hall, 735 Anacapa St., by 5 p.m. on Jan. 8, and they will be provided to the recruiting agency.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper 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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