When the City of Santa Paula’s long-term Police Chief resigned in November 2019, the City began a widespread search for a new Chief who could serve as a public safety visionary for the Santa Paula community. That process is now expected to soon come to a close. Hiring a new Police Chief is a large undertaking because it requires an intensive process that includes background checks, multiple interviews and community outreach to ensure that the candidate is a good fit for both the Santa Paula Police Department and the community.
“Our priority is working through a transparent process as we search for the best possible candidate to serve as our Police Chief,” said Santa Paula City Manager Dan Singer. “This job requires that a candidate has the knowledge and experience of leading a police department, but we are also looking for a Police Chief that has a more community-centric approach to policing who can create relationships with and connect to Santa Paulans.” Mr. Singer continued, adding that the ideal Police Chief would be approachable and someone who understands the challenges of a largely minority community.
The City’s extensive search has not been without obstacles, however. When the coronavirus pandemic hit the country, the City’s search had to be paused while its efforts were focused on prioritizing the Santa Paula community’s health and safety. Despite the pandemic, the City never lost sight of the importance of filling this vital role.
As the situation with the pandemic somewhat stabilized, recruitment activities were able to resume and the City was fortunate to receive interest for the position from 19 qualified candidates. After careful review of their experience and qualifications, eight of the original 19 applicants were chosen for initial interviews. These interviews were conducted by a panel of three Police Chiefs from Santa Paula’s neighboring cities. Based on the interview panel’s recommendations, three finalists have been moved forward into a rigorous assessment process that includes completing interviews by members of the Santa Paula Police Department, the City’s management team, the City Council, the City Manager and a community panel chosen by the City Council.
“I’m pleased that we have three well-qualified and experienced candidates who appear capable of performing this important job,” said Singer. “As the final phase of the interview and screening process wraps up, my decision on who is selected as our final candidate will not be a quick or easy one, but I hope to have a new Chief to introduce to the community sometime in November.”
This pending announcement comes on the heels of a recent community forum on policing led by the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce on October 1, 2020. This forum with the Santa Paula Police Department aimed to further promote transparency and communication between the Police Department and the community. Once selected, Santa Paula’s new Police Chief will have the opportunity to leverage the insights gained from this forum to help better serve the Santa Paula community.
Public safety remains a top priority for the City of Santa Paula and the City’s Police Officers will continue delivering on the life-saving services they provide to Santa Paulans each and every day.