Members of the Santa Maria Police Officers Association are in the process of conducting a vote of no confidence in Police Chief Dan Macagni in the wake of the recent shooting of officer Alberto Covarrubias by a fellow officer. The union has long butted heads with the chief, charging that his dictatorial leadership style has fostered safety problems. Macagni, they claim, does not tolerate dissenting opinions and has promoted weak leaders who can’t or won’t insist upon critical safety precautions.

Not only was Covarrubias shot and killed when fellow officers sought to arrest him for having an affair with a 17-year-old, but two SWAT officers were wounded during the recent arrest of an alleged drug dealer that left the drug dealer dead. Results of the vote should be finalized later this week. If the results yield a no-confidence vote, it’s uncertain what impact, if any, it will have. It will be the second such vote Macagni has weathered since taking the helm nearly 10 years ago.


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