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San Luis Obispo announces selection of new police chief

rick scott.jpg
Posted at 5:33 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 22:57:28-05

The City of San Luis Obispo announced the selection of a new police chief on Wednesday.

City officials say they provided a conditional offer to Rick Scott, who is currently the Assistant Police Chief in North Richland Hills, Texas.

Officials say Scott is focused on community engagement, transparency and trust, and in his current role, "successfully engaged and empowered underrepresented segments of the community on joint public safety initiatives."

"Rick Scott embraces the unique challenges of law enforcement today, with a leadership style that embodies our community's values around diversity, equity and inclusion," said Derek Johnson, San Luis Obispo City Manager.

Scott has reportedly worked in law enforcement for two decades and has been Assistant Police Chief for the past six years.

In a press release, Johnson said addressing systemic racism and racial bias in policing was a key consideration in the selection of a new chief, as well as finding someone who could address homelessness, mental health challenges, substance abuse, and other issues in the community.

City officials say the new chief is also expected to complete a detailed assessment of the police department and implement the pillars of "21st Century Policing" and other best practices. Scott reportedly led a similar effort in Texas.

Scott will take over for Interim Police Chief Jeff Smith who has been leading the department since former Chief Deanna Cantrell left at the end of September 2020 to become the police chief for the City of Fairfield.

Smith will be the next police chief for the City of Pismo Beach.