Santa Maria City Manager Rick Haydon announced today in a release that the city has found an interim chief of police.Ralph Martin is taking over responsibilities starting today. He will help the department through some tough times until a nationwide search for a new chief is complete.”My wife Colleen and I have just arrived in town and are looking forward to getting to know the city a little bit more. I spent over 35 years with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department where I was fortunate to be assigned to a variety of positions which I am sure will assist me with leading the Santa Maria Police Department,” Martin said. Martin tells KEY News, he also has extensive experience in officer involved shootings.”In my last 10 years in Los Angeles, my partner and I handled 118 officer-involved shootings in a five year period.”Haydon says he hired Martin for a reason.”I wanted to bring someone on board with no affiliation to Santa Maria and the Police Department. To get a brand new set of eyes to take a look at operations.”Martin’s appointment comes after former Police Chief Danny Macagni announced his retirement on Friday. Macagni had been police chief for nine years and affiliated with the department since 1975. The police department has been under fire for a series of officer-involved shootings, including two incidents just last week that started with pursuits and ended with the suspects being shot and killed. Macagni abruptly announced his retirement less than 24 hours after the second officer involved shooting.Haydon would not comment on the reason Macagni retired, only saying, “I’m setting my sights on the future. I acknowledge Chief Macagni…and thank him for his years of service…but as far as I’m concerned I’m setting my sights on the future.”
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