Sanchez Interviewing for New Job

One of Two Finalists Vying to Become San Bernardino’s Top Cop

[UPDATE, Thursday, September 15: In a 4-1 vote Wednesday night, the San Bernardino City Council chose Phoenix Police Commander Robert Handy over Cam Sanchez. According to a report published by Riverside’s The Press-Enterprise, the vote took place shortly before midnight after more than six hours of interviews. Read the full story here.]

Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez acknowledged he would be interviewed this week by members of the San Bernardino City Council as one of two finalists vying for the spot as that city’s top cop.

When Sanchez will hear whether he’s to be offered the post — which pays $39,000 more than what he’s paid by the City of Santa Barbara — remains to be seen, but many in City Hall expect the announcement to be made soon. While Sanchez and Assistant City Administrator Marcelo Lopez have both issued statements that Sanchez remains very much the city’s chief for the time being, word of Sanchez’s interest in exploring new job opportunities has added yet another level of unrest to a department roiled, to an unusual degree, by controversy.

Cam Sanchez
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman (file)

Cam Sanchez

Sanchez is competing with a police commander from a large Arizona law enforcement agency who’s been reviled by his troops for his autocratic command style. Should Sanchez be offered the post, it’s likely that Deputy Chief Frank Mannix would be appointed as interim chief while a full search — which would take four to six months — moved ahead. Although Mannix was once very active with the Police Officers Association (POA), his rise through the management ranks has alienated many of his former POA comrades in the extreme. POA members have already begun lobbying to ensure they’re given a seat on any of the interview panels that may be set up to screen prospective candidates. Should Sanchez not be offered the post in San Bernardino, once known as the meth capital of California, his future with the City of Santa Barbara remains very much in question. To a lesser degree, so too are the policing policies for which Sanchez was known, including his strong support for community-oriented policing.

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