SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Santa Maria Police Chief Phil Hansen is retiring.
Hansen confirmed the announcement Monday and spoke about the decision with the NewsChannel's Scott Hennessee.
He's been part of the Santa Maria Police Department since 2013 and has served as chief of the department since 2017, originally in an interim basis. Prior to his arrival in Santa Maria, Hansen was a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
"After 45 years in law enforcement I think it's time for me to retire," said Hansen, who turns 66 in January.
Hansen said he considered leaving earlier this year but decided against it due to the pandemic and associated budget concerns. He also mentioned a summer full of civil unrest and nationwide protests as a reason for staying in the role through the remainder of the year.
He said he feels confident that the department is heading in the right direction moving forward.
"I don't take this lightly. I absolutely love this department. I love the people I work with. But part of my task as the chief here has been to prepare people to take my spot. And I have a wonderful, experienced, ethical, well-educated staff of people that's ready to move up into the next positions and take this thing to the next level," Hansen said.
He says he is hopeful his replacement will come from within the department, but that decision ultimately comes down to the city manager and the Santa Maria City Council.
His last day as chief of the Santa Maria Police Department will be Dec. 18.
Extended Interview: SMPD Chief Phil Hansen announces retirement