After 39 years in law enforcement, Orcutt resident Wes Maroney has decided to retire again. This time it’s for good.
Maroney, 60, has left his job as chief of the Allan Hancock College Police Department. Sgt. John Staugaard is serving as interim chief.
In early 2013, Maroney became the community college’s first police chief in 12 years since the position previously was filled by a Santa Maria police lieutenant.
Retirement now is the right time, Maroney told Noozhawk, adding that he and his wife want to travel “and enjoy the country.”
It also comes as his son, Michael, medically retires from the Air Force. The Maroneys need the freedom to help their son, a single dad, as necessary with his transition to civilian life.
“Every day, for 39 straight years, I was a policeman and it just got to the point where I just needed to retire,” Maroney said.
Retirement for Maroney means an end to the career he wanted as a young boy.
“When I was growing up, the two things I wanted to be is I wanted to be a soldier and I wanted to be policeman,” he said.
He was both.
Maroney served 33 years in the military, including two stints in Iraq with the Army National Guard and Army Reserve.
He began his law enforcement career by working two years for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.
Maroney later worked for the Santa Maria Marshals Office until the agency was folded into the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. After retiring from his full-time gig, he worked part-time for the Sheriff’s Department to provide extra help until the Hancock College police chief job became vacant.
Over the course of his career, he said, he has seen training become much more extensive and more of those entering the field have college educations.
“The equipment has gotten better — more tools to use to help you catch the bad guys,” Maroney said.
Throughout his career, one of his hobbies has involved collecting patches from law enforcement and other emergency services agencies. His collection now numbers in the thousands.
Maroney and his wife, Rose, who were high school sweethearts, will mark 42 years of marriage in September. They have two adult children — along with Michael is a daughter, Michelle — and six grandchildren.
While the job of law enforcement officer has sad days, Maroney said he has no regrets looking back, and he’s appreciative he had the chance to serve as police chief.
During his time at Hancock and with the support of multiple administrators, Maroney said the department has acquired much-needed new equipment and vehicles, in addition to staff undergoing beefed-up training.
“The college appreciates Chief Maroney’s six years of service with the district, including the last two years as police chief,” Hancock spokesman Andrew Masuda said.
Through grants, the college has installed automated external defibrillators in police vehicles and distributed emergency kits throughout the campus. A new police radio system will equip staff with handheld radios and allow dispatch of units at the Lompoc Valley Center campus from Santa Maria.
“I think I left the police department better than I found it,” Maroney said.
Former part-time security positions now have been designated campus safety officers, and undergo more extensive training.
The main campus has a police officer on duty 16 hours a day, from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., as Maroney has encouraged his staff to be visible on campus.
“Visibility is a key issue for colleges to provide a safe environment,” he said. “I tell people the only thing our college police department is there for is to provide a safe place to work, teach and learn.”
— Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.