Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 22
Santa Maria officials appoint interim police chief to replace Macagni
BY JEREMY THOMAS AND AMY ASMAN
Santa Maria Police Chief Danny Macagni—who came under increased scrutiny in recent months as a result of several officer-involved shootings and an independent audit of his department—has retired, city officials announced on Aug. 3. He will be replaced by interim chief Ralph Martin, a 35-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
City Manager Rick Haydon declined to “go into detail” regarding Macagni’s retirement “other than to say we appreciated his service to the city of Santa Maria and we wish him and his family all the best.”
Haydon said his “full focus is on the future of the department and not on what has happened in the past.”
Macagni is retiring on good terms with the city and will receive his full pension. The Sun was unable to confirm the exact amount of Macagni’s pension as of press time. However, Haydon did say that the former police chief is eligible to receive up to 90 percent of his final salary.
Interim Chief Martin started with the department on Aug. 6.
Haydon said when it came time to find a temporary replacement for Macagni, he took out his reference names and “started pursuing a couple of people.”
“[Martin] came highly regarded with great references. He has excellent communication skills,” Haydon said, adding that Martin comes to Santa Maria with no ties to the community and has “a fresh perspective and new ideas.”
“I thought with everything going on with the department right now, it would be good to have a new perspective right now,” Haydon added.
During his career with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Martin was responsible for managing department operations for the county’s region two, which encompasses the communities of Compton, Century, Carson, Lomita, Lennox, Marina del Rey, and West Hollywood. He also oversaw the security for Metropolitan Transportation Authority, all Metrolink trains, and nine junior college campuses.
Haydon said he felt Martin was a good match because he has extensive experience in community-based policing, gang investigations, and risk management.
“He’ll be looking at things in terms of risk management … like use of force as it pertains to the amount of arrests we have,” Haydon said, noting the interim chief would also look into traffic accidents and other instances of police interaction with the public.
Martin holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from California State University, Los Angeles, and a master’s degree in communications from Pepperdine University.
Martin will serve as interim police chief for the city while officials conduct a nationwide search for a new police chief. Haydon said Martin has agreed to a commitment of about five to six months with the city of Santa Maria, after which he’ll return to his police consulting position in Southern California.
In a statement to the media, Martin said, “I am honored and excited about this opportunity to be leading the Santa Maria Police Department as its Chief. I am looking forward to meeting and working with the Mayor and City Council, the City Manager, other City Departments, the men and women of the Santa Maria Police Department, the Police Officers’ Association, and equally important, the residents of Santa Maria.”
Martin could not be reached as of press time.
Retired police chief Macagni began his career with the Santa Maria Police Department in 1975, serving two years as a reserve police officer before being hired full time in 1977. Former City Manager Tim Ness appointed Macagni as chief in June 2003 to replace John Sterling.
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