Barney Melekian, Assistant County Executive Officer for Public Safety for the last two years, will be leaving County employment in early February to serve as Interim Chief of Police for the city of Santa Barbara upon the retirement of Chief Lori Luhnow on February 13, 2021.
Barney has been a valuable and well-respected member of the County of Santa Barbara Executive Office Team, and Undersheriff from 2015 to 2018.
Public safety has been his calling, as Barney served in law enforcement for 46 years including 13 years as the Police Chief for the city of Pasadena, four years as the Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services in the Department of Justice (federal), and more than three years as the Undersheriff for Santa Barbara County before joining the CEO Office in September 2018.
I will be working on next steps and how best to address priorities in the County Executive Office in the coming weeks, including cannabis oversight, and racial equity and the criminal justice system.
We will miss Barney’s professionalism, empathy, knowledge and wit. We wish him all the best as he continues to serve residents on the south coast.