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New interim chief named for Santa Barbara Police Department

Commander Arroyo.JPG
Posted at 12:08 PM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-15 15:08:31-04

A new, interim police chief has been selected for the Santa Barbara Police Department as the search for a permanent chief nears completion.

Barney Melekian has been helping guide the department since March of 2021 but is stepping down effective Friday.

The City says Commander Marylinda Arroyo, who started working in public safety service in Santa Barbara in 1991, will now serve as interim chief, adding that an announcement regarding a permanent chief is expected in the coming weeks.

City officials say she has been recognized many times during her 27 years as a peace officer, including earning the prestigious Thomas H. Guerry Award, Chief Meritorious Award, California Peace Officers Association Foundation Award and more.

Commander Arroyo has handled assignments ranging from patrol officer to academy instructor and has been part of the crisis negotiations team, a special investigations detective, high-tech crime and digital forensics investigator and much more.

She was also the first female to be promoted to the rank of lieutenant, captain and commander in the 122-year history of the Santa Barbara Police Department, according to a press release.

The Santa Barbara Police Department has been searching for a permanent police chief since February of 2021 when Chief Lori Luhnow retired.