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New Santa Barbara Police Chief process delayed until new City Administrator chosen

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The process to pick a new police chief in Santa Barbara will pick up after a new city administrator is chosen. The current city administrator Paul Casey leaves September 10.

Mayor Cathy Murillo says, after a new person is in that seat, they will do the job of recruiting for a police chief, holding community meetings, and eventually making recommendations to the city council.

In the meantime, Barney Melekian will lead the police department as he has since February when he was appointed in an interim position following the retirement of former Chief Lori Luhnow.

Melekian will likely be in the post until at least the end of the year. He has extensive law enforcement experience and previously served as the Undersheriff for Santa Barbara County and then the Assistant County Executive Officer.

The hiring process for police chief involves a national recruitment and weeks of reviews, meetings, and interviews.

There will also be community input encouraged by the council from the community.

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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