City of Santa Paula logoThe City of Santa Paula is pleased to announce the appointment of Donald Aguilar as the City’s permanent chief of police. With an illustrious, nearly four-decade career in law enforcement and a proven track record of leadership in Santa Paula, Chief Aguilar brings a unique combination of local knowledge and experience to the Santa Paula community.

“Chief Aguilar has provided stability and effective leadership to the Santa Paula Police Department and has earned the respect and support of our community during his term as our interim chief,” said Mayor Leslie Cornejo. “His vision for public safety aligns seamlessly with our core values as a City. I am confident that under Chief Aguilar’s leadership, we will continue to build on the progress we’ve been making to strengthen our Police Department.”

The City took a proactive approach to ensure a transparent and impartial recruitment process. The City engaged executive-level recruiting services from Bob Murray & Associates, who officially launched the recruitment for a new Chief of Police on September 29, 2023.

The City sought input from the Santa Paula community to promote inclusivity throughout the recruitment process. On October 17, 2023, representatives from Bob Murray & Associates hosted an in-person community forum to collect input on the qualities Santa Paula residents were looking for in their next chief of police. In addition, the City collected public feedback via a digital survey. To reach as many residents as possible, the City distributed English and Spanish versions of the survey. The input received at the community forum and the survey played a crucial role in shaping the direction of the recruitment.

Lastly, the City conducted interviews with three highly qualified candidates. The process involved numerous interview panels, including a community panel, which helped the city manager arrive at a decision. After a meticulous evaluation process, Chief Aguilar emerged as the ideal choice to serve the Santa Paula community.

Chief Aguilar is a seasoned and well-respected law enforcement professional who brings a commitment to public service and a focus on professionalism to the Santa Paula Police Department (SPPD). Chief Aguilar has served as the City of Santa Paula’s interim chief of police since November 7, 2022.

Before joining SPPD, Chief Aguilar served for more than 35 years with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO) with assignments in patrol, custody, administration, major crimes and narcotics. As a Captain for VCSO, Chief Aguilar served as patrol watch commander, public information officer, jail facility manager and assistant chief of police for the City of Thousand Oaks.

“I’m excited to begin a new chapter in the long and storied legacy of the Santa Paula Police Department upon being selected as the permanent police chief. I know public safety is of the utmost importance to this community, as well as the expectation of the highest level of ethics and integrity that come with this honorable profession,” said Chief Aguilar. “There is a lot of work ahead to accomplish our goals.  I am extremely proud of the dedication and commitment of our staff and all they contribute every day in achieving our mission. I look forward to continuing to build a highly professional organization with the great men and women of this Police Department.”