Effective today, Cmdr. Marylinda Arroyo is the new interim Santa Barbara police chief.
She succeeds Bernard “Barney” Melekian, who retired Friday after serving as interim chief for one and one-half years.
A permanent police chief is expected to be announced within the next few weeks.
Cmdr. Arroyo is a police commander with the Santa Barbara Police Department and a graduate of the California POST Command College, class 67. She began her public safety service in her hometown of Santa Barbara in 1991, while attending and earning a bachelor’s from UCSB.
In addition, she earned a master’s in public policy and administration from California Lutheran University, a leadership and management certificate from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and an executive certificate in Law Enforcement Command from the University of San Diego.
During her 27 years as a peace officer, she has received numerous awards such as the prestigious Thomas H. Guerry Award, Chief Meritorious Award, California Peace Officers Association Foundation Award, Law Enforcement Award – Optimist Club and Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara Alumni Hero. She and her husband Sam have been married for 22 years and have a daughter in college and a son in high school.
Cmdr. Arroyo’s assignments have included service as a patrol officer, crisis negotiations team, academy instructor, special investigations detective, high tech crime and digital forensics investigator, sergeant, patrol watch commander, and strategic operations and investigative division commander.
Cmdr. Arroyo was the first woman to be promoted to the rank of lieutenant, captain and commander in the 122-year history of the Santa Barbara Police Department. At the time of her appointment as interim police chief, she was commanding the field operations division, which includes patrol, traffic, special enforcement, street crimes, co-response, dispatch, SWAT and CNRT.