Posted: Apr 9, 2013 7:04 PM by April Hansen, KSBY News
Updated: Apr 10, 2013 7:32 AM
Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin has hired two provisional managers with experience in tactics and administration to help with restructuring the police department.
This comes after the chief fired a commander and a lieutenant in connection with the fatal shooting of Officer Albert Covarrubias in January 2012.
Covarrubias was being investigated on allegations he had been involved in a sexual relationship with a teenage female police explorer.
Chief Martin says he wants to rebuild the department from the ground up, and like Chief Martin, both men are retired from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.
They have decades of tactical training and budget management experience.
Chief Martin says he wants fresh ideas on how to build the department back after the Covarrubias case led to an internal investigation.
"He chose to resist. He drew his weapon. A fight ensued. He fired his weapon and one of my officers that was there also discharged his weapon and he was fatally wounded," said former Santa Maria Police Chief Danny Macagni in a news conference following last year's deadly shooting.
Controversy over the shooting led to Macagni's resignation and Ralph Martin was brought in to rebuild the department.
"The department has had issues. There's no question," said Chief Martin.
Martin says he is looking for permanent solutions.
"I want something that is long term," he said, and that's why he's hired two veteran law enforcement officers to help make that happen.
"I brought them on board to take a look at all the tactical issues. With all of the issues we've had the past couple of years, they go back farther and the other gentleman is here to figure out the best way to build the department for the next 5 to 10 years," said Chief Martin.
The chief says it's a matter of finding what works and making sure his police force is fully trained and supported.
"A firm foundation," said Chief Martin.
And this team says it's ready for the challenge.
"They need some help and we wanted to come in with some fresh eyes," said Phil Hansen.
"I think everybody here now has that same attitude that they enjoy coming to work. They are working with us," said Don Rodriguez.
Hansen and Rodriguez have been here about a week.
They say they are both very impressed with the staff at the police department and are looking forward to working with them.
Their positions are temporary.
Chief Martin expects them to be with the department for about a year.
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