Friday, November 16 , 2018, 9:12 am | Fair 55º


Swearing-in Ceremony Marks Arrival of Allan Hancock College’s New Police Chief

Cathy Farley previously worked for many years at the UCSB Police Department

New Hancock College Police Chief Cathy Farley has her new badge pinned on by her husband Click to view larger
New Hancock College Police Chief Cathy Farley has her new badge pinned on by her husband during the swearing in ceremony on Monday. Paul Farley is a retired correctional officer from the Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

In a room packed with law enforcement officers, the Allan Hancock College Police Department’s new chief took the oath of office Monday, signaling the start of rebuilding the agency after doubts about its future.

Former UCSB Police Department Assistant Chief Cathy Farley was sworn in by Superintendent/President Kevin Walthers as her family and colleagues, including Sheriff Bill Brown and many police chiefs from both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, watched. 

“I have spent an amazing career with UC Santa Barbara,” she said, recalling her first job at 19 years old. 

During her 35 years with UCSB, she worked for five police chiefs and three chancellors.

“Now I am looking forward to what I keep saying is the next chapter,” she said. “The next chapter is coming here to Hancock, working with a new team, and building upon that new team, and I’m really excited about that.”

“This has been my community for almost 30 years, and I really like the ability and the opportunity to be able to give back to my community,” the Lompoc Valley resident added.

After the swearing-in ceremony, Farley’s husband, Paul, pinned on her new badge while their children — Jessica, Brianna and Jacob, all of whom had attended Hancock College — stood nearby.

Jessica is police officer at UC, Irvine, while her son is a firefighter for the Santa Monica Fire Department.

The new chief will dive into her duties instantly since an active shooter drill has been planned for Tuesday at the campus with law enforcement serving as lead.

She also plans to meet students across the campuses — where they study and eat — to hear their concerns, along with holding smaller events to get their input.

Farley’s hiring come after years of uncertainty for the Hancock Police Department amid questions about whether it should continue or if campus law enforcement services should be contracted to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s or the Santa Maria Police Department.

Ultimately, the college's board of trustees voted to support keeping the department and boosting its budget to increase staffing, training and equipment.

Several rounds of searches led to Farley’s hiring, thanks to what Hancock’s leader called the perfect storm of the Lompoc resident being ready for the transition. 

“We’re excited. We think it’s going to be a really good relationship for a long time,” Walthers said. 

The new police chief will bring an understanding about interacting with college students.

“We have so many more processes that we can use to help students correct behavior besides just arresting them,” Walthers said. 

Former Interim Chief Ronald Schram praised the selection of Farley.

“This is a transformational hiring,” said Schram, who retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and later worked for the Cuesta Community College Police Department before retiring again.

In the coming days, Farley said, she intends to meet with staff to determine the status of training and hiring as the agency begins to rebuild the department. 

“I am looking for in my staff folks that really connect with the college campus community,” she said, adding that she also seeks those who are ethical, have strong character and are committed to the community.

Farley’s first job with the UCSB Police Department involved what then was known as the Bicycle Education Safety Team while she attended classes and competed as a student athlete in track.

From there, she became a police officer, rising through the ranks as one of the department’s first female officers. 

In 2012, four years after her diagnosis with high-stage breast cancer, Farley completed the elite 10-week training course at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

“Cathy leaves a strong legacy of mentorship and leadership in law enforcement,” UCSB Chief Dustin Olson said. “Many citizens, students and law enforcement officers have benefited from having Cathy on their team and leading from the front.

"There are not words to express my gratitude or appreciation, but my second-in-command will be missed and I know that she will do a terrific job moving forward.”

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.

Dozens of law enforcement officers pose for a photo with new Hancock College Police Chief Cathy Farley. Click to view larger
Dozens of law enforcement officers, including Sheriff Bill Brown and many police chiefs from Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, pose for a photo with new Allan Hancock College Police Chief Cathy Farley on Monday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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