While I hardly know the guy, I would like to share my deep appreciation for the City of Santa Barbara’s Interim Chief of Police, Barney Melekian.
In recent years, communities across the country — including Santa Barbara — have grappled with how to improve policing and how law enforcement might more effectively engage with the communities they serve. We have been exceedingly lucky to have as our Chief of Police a man who over many decades of public service has been a leader in actually accomplishing these types of reforms. He has been recognized nationally for his leadership in efforts to change and improve policing from within.
Chief Melekian came to the city after a long career of distinguished public service. He accepted the role of Interim Police Chief at a time of great community upheaval and as many senior management staff were leaving city government. He did not need a new job. He could have comfortably retired long ago.
Instead, he stepped up when his community needed him and served with the same unique management style, open-mindedness to new ideas, and skill that have been hallmarks of his career. He has done a fantastic job leading the department.
As he looks toward his well-deserved and long-delayed retirement, our community owes Chief Melekian a debt of gratitude for his lifetime of public service and the time he has spent effectively leading our city’s police department.