SANTA BARBARA — Bernard Melekian was sworn in Monday as the Santa Barbara interim police chief by City Administrator Paul Casey.
Chief Melekian succeeds former Chief Lori Luhnow, who retired Feb. 13.
Chief Melekian was selected by Mr. Casey to serve as interim chief while the city conducts a national search for a permanent chief.
Shortly after being sworn in, Chief Melekian shared a message with the department’s sworn and civilian staff.
“I bring you a simple commitment,” he said. “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.”
Chief Melekian previously served as the assistant CEO for public safety for Santa Barbara County.
His 46 years in law enforcement includes 13 years as the chief of police for Pasadena, 3 1/2 years as undersheriff for Santa Barbara County and 3 1/2 years as the director of the Community Oriented Policing Services in the U.S. capital. He also has a Medal of Valor and Medal of Courage.
Chief Melekian earned his doctorate in 2012 at the USC School of Policy, Planning and Development.
— Gerry Fall