Barney Melekian’s final day as interim Santa Barbara police chief — and as a law enforcement officer — is this Friday.
Melekian, 72, was appointed as the interim chief on March 1, 2021, following the departure of Lori Luhnow as the city’s top cop.
“It has been my privilege to serve the city of Santa Barbara and the men and women of the Police Department who work tirelessly to keep the city safe,” Melekian said in a news release. “I am truly honored to have been allowed to close out my law enforcement career as Santa Barbara’s police Chief.
Added, Santa Barbara City Administrator Rebecca Bjork: “I have been honored to work with one of the leading experts in modern policing. We will miss Barney, and he leaves knowing he has moved our local team even closer to being a model for other communities.”
Melekian previously worked as the assistant county executive officer for Santa Barbara County, and also worked as the Pasadena police chief and the Santa Barbara County undersheriff.
He was awarded a medal of valor during his 23 years working for the Santa Monica Police Department.
In Pasadena, he also served as acting fire chief and interim city manager. He collects a pension from the cities of Pasadena and Santa Monica, but none of the other agencies he has worked for.
He served for four years as the director of the federal Office of Community Oriented Policing Services during the Obama Administration.
Melekian told Noozhawk on Monday that he plans to take a couple months off, and that “I realized that I have been working since I was 14 years old.”
“I have been promising my wife some road trips around the country, and it’s time for me to deliver on that promise,” Melekian said. “I do have a couple of potential teaching assignments in the works, and I have been telling myself that I would write a book for several years. We’ll see if I actually do that.”
Santa Barbara is currently in the final stages of hiring a new police chief.
“We are still in the recruitment process,” City Administrator Rebecca Bjork said. “Marylinda Arroyo will be acting chief until a new chief is sworn in.”
— Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.