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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on September 19th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 29 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 19, Issue 29

Catherine Farley named Hancock's newest police chief

By Kasey Bubnash

At the beginning of this year, it was unclear whether the Allan Hancock College Police Department would continue to exist. Now, the department has a new permanent chief. 

Catherine Farley, who currently serves as UC Santa Barbara's assistant police chief, was appointed to Hancock's highest ranking public safety position on Sept. 11 at a Hancock Community College District board meeting, where trustees voted unanimously to hire her. 

Farley could not be reached for a comment, and Hancock spokesman Phil Hamer said he could not speak to Farley's background in public safety or qualifications. 

The new chief will make $131,922 a year, Hamer said, and she will take over the troubled department on Nov. 1. 

Trustees voted to keep the police department and increase its funding at a meeting on Jan. 16, after a report conducted by a former interim campus police chief, Paul Grohowski, found the department to be inadequately staffed, trained, and funded. He also reported outdated equipment, technology, procedures, and facilities.

Grohowski recommended contracting with another larger law enforcement agency, preferably the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office, because of its jurisdiction over the entire county. The consolidation would have effectively dissolved the Hancock Police Department as it functions now.

But Grohowski suddenly resigned on July 31, after only seven months on the job, and was replaced by another interim chief, Ronald Schram, who was also tasked with assessing the department's proficiency. Schram's report  illustrated a much less dire situation and included several cost effective solutions to many of the department's issues. 

At the meeting on Jan. 16, Schram, who was replaced as interim chief by Chris Nartatez after his contract with Hancock ended in December 2017, blamed a lack of stable leadership for most of the department's issues. He said finding a permanent police chief should become the board's top priority.

–Kasey Bubnash




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