Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh.

Pat Walsh is stepping down from his position as Lompoc’s police chief. (City of Lompoc photo)

The city of Lompoc announced Wednesday night that Police Chief Pat Walsh is resigning after more than four years in the job.

A statement issued by the city did not offer any reason for Walsh’s departure, and indicated he plans to remain as chief for several months.

Walsh has led the city’s Police Department since September 2014.

“I have enjoyed my 35 years of law enforcement, and would not change a thing,” Walsh said in the statement. “It is time for the fine men and women of the Lompoc Police Department to take the lead and carry on. I can think of no better people to guide the Lompoc Police Department into the future.

 “Lompoc is a special community full of people who genuinely care about this city, and it has been my honor to call Lompoc residents my friends and neighbors.”

Under his leadership, Lompoc police spearheaded the ambitious effort to evict homeless residents from the elaborate encampments in the Santa Ynez Riverbed while connecting them with services.

But the department also has struggled with a tight budget that has meant a hiring freeze amid a hike in violent crimes in the city. Police union leaders have spoken out about the toll on the their efforts to fight crime. 

He also spoke out against allowing cannabis operations in the city, saying his concerns centered on public safety issues.

Walsh began his law-enforcement career in 1984 with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Before coming to Lompoc, he worked with the Portland Police Bureau beginning in 1991.

He has an associate degree in management communications and leadership from Concordia University, and a master’s degree in homeland security from the Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

“Chief Pat Walsh has done an outstanding job leading the Lompoc Police Department,” City Manager Jim Throop said in the statement. “He exemplifies community policing at its finest, and can always be found out in the neighborhoods, getting to know those his department serves and protects.

“Chief Walsh is well-loved in Lompoc, and his departure will leave a hole in the heart of the Lompoc Valley. We are grateful for Chief Walsh’s time with our city.”

The city said that plans are underway to find Walsh’s replacement, but no timetable was given.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at tbolton@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.