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Santa Maria Police Sgt. Christopher Nartatez


Hancock College's interim chief of police could remain on the job through the end of the year as the college continues its search for a permanent police chief. 

Hired on an interim basis at the start of January, Chris Nartatez's contract was set to expire June 30. The college's board of trustees will consider extending his contract during its July 10 meeting, according to campus spokesperson Jessica Sheaff.

If approved, Nartatez would continue as interim chief until Dec. 31, or sooner if the college hires a permanent chief. 

A 37-year veteran of the Santa Maria Police Department, Nartatez is Hancock's third police chief in 12 months. He has served on an interim basis since the departure of Ron Schram, the college Police Department's former interim police chief, at the end of last December.

The college has been without a permanent chief since July 2017, when former Police Chief Paul Grohowski abruptly resigned.

Originally hired by the college in September 2016, Grohowski spent several months evaluating campus policing and security options prior to his resignation. At the start of 2017, he suggested disbanding the campus Police Department and contracting with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office for security services.

Earlier this month, trustees voted to restart the search for a permanent police chief after the only viable candidate opted not to take the job. Trustees also rejected the possibility of contracting with the Santa Maria Police Department to provide services.

With the search for a new chief ongoing, college administrators are currently reviewing the advertised salary, which the board voted to revisit at its September meeting.

Mathew Burciaga covers education in Santa Maria and the surrounding area for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @math_burciaga