Santa Maria Police Department Cmdr. Phil Hansen will assume the role of acting chief of police, taking over for retiring Chief Ralph Martin who will be stepping down June 23.
Hansen, who has 40 years of law enforcement experience, has been with the Santa Maria Police Department for the past four years. He was hired in April 2013 by Martin to help reorganize the department and its operations, city officials said.
Before coming to Santa Maria, he served 36 years with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, where he retired at the rank of captain.
Hansen is a nationally recognized expert in the area of law enforcement tactical operations and has served on several course development committees for the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. He was named director emeritus of the National Tactical Officer’s Association.
He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from California State University, Northridge, and a master’s degree in leadership from the University of Southern California.
Martin announced his retirement early last month.
His five-year tenure as Santa Maria’s top cop was a time of significant change and growth for the department. The Santa Police Department moved into a new state-of-the-art facility, successfully conducted one of the largest operations in its history and completely restructured the department’s command structure.
“We have a very capable, enthusiastic, professional team in place, with a modern facility and community support,” Martin said. “I am confident that we have the right personnel, protocols and organizational structure to ensure the Santa Maria Police Department will maintain its high standards and dedication to protecting the community.”
Martin was hired by City Manager Rick Haydon as the interim chief Aug. 6, 2012, following a string of controversial incidents including a number of officer-involved shootings, the officer-involved shooting death of an on-duty police officer and the retirement of the former chief. Four months into the job, Martin was appointed by Haydon as the permanent chief.
“Chief Martin has truly been a godsend to the men and women of the Police Department, to the city as an organization and to the community of Santa Maria, and I think we all (collectively) owe him our debt of gratitude for coming here and helping make a difference in our quality of life (from a public safety perspective),” Haydon said.