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Paul Grohowski, Hancock College's new chief of police, takes the oath of office from Kevin Walthers, superintendent/president of the college, left, as Grohowski's wife, Marissa, and daughters Madeline and Marra, right, listen. Grohowski turned in his resignation to the college, whose board voted to accept it, July 11. 

Len Wood, Staff

Hancock College Chief Paul Grohowski, who was sworn in seven months ago, has resigned as the school's top cop. His last day is July 31. 

Hancock trustees accepted Grohowski's resignation during a board meeting July 11, and the school's Police Department now is seeking an interim police chief to lead the 12-member department. 

Grohowski, who did not return calls for comment, has received a 10-month severance package. 

The chief was brought on to lead Hancock's Police Department after serving as chief of police at Adams State University in Colorado and 13 years of service to the Port St. Lucie Police Department in Florida, a career totaling more than 20 years in law enforcement. He began his position in September but wasn't officially sworn in until December. 

Campus spokesperson Susan Houghton said an interim chief would be in place by Aug. 1.

On July 11, trustees also directed staff to enter into negotiations with the California School Employee Association union, according to Houghton, to discuss the functionality of the campus police force, and what the school needs to better serve the safety and security needs of the campus. 

When Grohowski was hired, one of his assigned duties was to evaluate the campus Police Department. After a 10-month evaluation, he looked at various aspects of the Hancock Police Department and identified major deficits in the office, which included inadequate facilities and a need for upgraded and additional technology. 

Grohowski also recommended that the department enter into a service agreement with the Sheriff's Office to consolidate Hancock's Police Department, train current officers and provide well-trained and equipped duties on the college's three campuses. In a Jan. 15 report titled "Police Department Consolidation Plan," Grohowski cited short staffing and an underfunded budget that prevented the department from effectively moving forward. 

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All school employees working at management levels are under contract, according to Houghton, who confirmed Grohowski's contract was renewed before he announced his resignation. 

"He's committed to staying through the end of the month," Houghton added. 

Hancock President Kevin Walthers said the school was "grateful for the chief's service and appreciate his professionalism during his tenure."

"On behalf of Allan Hancock College, I'd like to thank Paul Grohowski for his dedication and service to the college, our students and staff," Walthers said in a statement. "One of his initial duties was to evaluate the college Police Department and recommend how to make the college as safe and secure as possible. He accomplished those tasks and many others, and we wish him well on his future endeavors."

Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210

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Courts/Public Safety Reporter