SANTA MARIA - Santa Maria has named a new, interim police chief to the take the helm of the police department.
Ralph Martin is a retired Commander from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and takes over the Santa Maria Police Department after what's been one of the most turbulent periods in the history of the SMPD.
There has been a string of deadly officer involved shootings since last December topped off by the particularly unusual shooting death of Officer Albert Covarrubias Jr. by a fellow officer while both were on duty last January.
Interim Chief Martin spent more than 35 years with the L.A. County Sheriff's Department and says he's aware of the Santa Maria Police Department's recent troubled history.
Chief Martin says his top priority right now is to bring stability to the department.
"I think the community needs to know that they have a new chief of police, that I'm very objective", Interim Chief Martin says, "I'm going to look at all facets of the department, I'm very open, I will have an open door policy, I will look at some of the issues that may be of concern to them (the community) , but I'm just very excited to be here and I'm looking forward to doing the job I know I can do.
"I think this is a great day for the City of Santa Maria", says City Manager Rick Haydon about Chief Martin's appointment, "it's the first day for transition in the new department, the men and women of the Santa Maria Police Department, the City of Santa Maria and the community should be grateful that we have someone with Chief Martin's talents, skill sets that are going to be leading the department over these next 5 to 6 months."
Haydon says he expects the national search and recruitment of a new police chief to take at least five more months.
It comes on the heels of former Chief Dan Macagni's sudden retirement announcement last Friday after he was placed on paid administrative leave by Haydon earlier last week.
Macagni has not been available to comment on the reasons behind his sudden retirement after 37 years all with the SMPD.
Wednesday, June 5 2013 5:40 PM EDT2013-06-05 21:40:27 GMT
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