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Santa Barbara County Has a New Undersheriff in Town

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department announced that Bernard “Barney” Melekian will be the new undersheriff effective January 5, 2015.

“Barney Melekian is a nationally recognized law enforcement professional with a history of achieving success, building trust and making a difference wherever he has seved,” said Sheriff Bill Brown. “I can think of no one who is better respected in law enforcement profession…and look forward to working with him as my undersheriff”

In mid-October of last year, then-undersheriff, Jim Peterson, abruptly retired amid allegations of a ‘sexting’ scandal. The Sheriff’s Department had been without an undersheriff since then.

Melekian’s qualifications include many years of distinguished public service at both the local and federal level. He has served in the U.S. Army, and the Santa Monica Police Department.

After a brief sting with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s office (1976-1977), he returned to Santa Monica P.D., and was chief of police for the City of Pasadena for 13 years.

Melekian is currently under contract with the City of Seattle through December 31st.

A swearing-in ceremony for Undersheriff-select Melekian is planned for January 5th.

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