SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Santa Barbara's interim police chief was sworn in Monday morning.
On Monday morning at around 8:00 a.m., Santa Barbara City Administrator Paul Casey swore in Santa Barbara Interim Police Chief Bernard Melekian as the 28th Chief of Police since 1900.
Chief Melekian will take over after Chief Lori Luhnow retired on February 13, 2021.
The police department says Chief Melekian was selected by Administrator Casey to serve as Interim Chief while the City conducted a national search for the permanent chief.
After being sworn in, Chief Melekian said, “I bring you a simple commitment; I will keep the Santa Barbara Police Department moving forward on the cutting edge of 21st Century Policing and continue to reinforce the concept of what some have called “procedural justice.” That is, to ensure that we continue to treat everyone with dignity and respect and that our internal administrative processes reflect and reinforce those values.”
The police department says Melekian previously served the assistant CEO for public safety for the County of Santa Barbara.
Melekian has been in law enforcement for 46 years. During his time he has earned a Medal of Valor and Medcal of Courage. He served as Chief of Police in Pasadena for 13 years before becoming the Undersheriff for Santa Barbara County for three and a half years. He was then the Director of the Community Oriented Policing Services for three and a half years.
Melekian has a doctorate from the School of Policy, Planning and Development at University of Southern California, in 2012.
The police department says Melekian is nationally recognized for his work on the National Police Foundation, which advances the field of law enforcement through innovation and science.