Four years after leaving retirement to resume his law enforcement career, Joseph Mariani has been appointed the next chief for the Lompoc Police Department.
Mariani will take office Friday, replacing Chief Patrick Walsh, who announced in early January his plans to leave once a new chief had been hired.
On Wednesday, City Manager Jim Throop announced Mariani’s appointment, and said a public swearing-in ceremony would occur during the Lompoc City Council meeting Tuesday at City Hall. The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m.
“My decision to appoint Captain Mariani to chief was due to his vast law enforcement experience and commitment to serving the Lompoc community,” Throop said. “He is a dedicated individual with the best interests of the city at heart.”
When he assumes the helm, Mariani will be the Lompoc department’s first Hispanic and bilingual police chief, city staff noted.
Mariani spent 34 years working for the Los Angeles Police Department before retiring. In 2015, Mariani arrived in Lompoc to serve as a captain.
“I was fortunate to serve under Chief Walsh, and to benefit from his leadership and compassion. Chief Walsh has made an enormous contribution to and difference in the city of Lompoc, and we are all much better because of his efforts,” Mariani said. “It is my hope and desire to continue to serve our community, and to work in collaboration with all who live, work and visit our great city.”
Mariani worked first as the Lompoc department’s operations division commander, and more recently as the support services commander.
During his stint in Los Angeles, he held a number of assignments including patrol officer, narcotics officer, detective, internal affairs investigator and Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer.
Starting in 2007, Mariani managed the recruitment and hiring process for the Los Angeles police as the agency reached its authorized strength of 10,000 officers for the first time in its history.
In addition, Mariani has been a member of numerous professional organizations, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Walsh announced his resignation Jan. 9, but the city statement did not offer any reason for his departure.
However, the Lompoc department has struggled with a number of vacancies at all levels, and has had to have one officer serve as a dispatcher due to the shortage.
Police union leaders have spoken out about the toll a hiring freeze and vacancies have taken on their efforts to fight crime.