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091118 AHC board of trustees meeting

Hancock College Board of Trustees President Hilda Zacarias thanks those involved in a monthslong efforts to find a permanent police chief, a process which she referred to as "long and arduous," during Tuesday night's meeting.

UCSB Assistant Police Chief Catherine Farley was unanimously approved to lead the Hancock College Police Department during a board meeting Tuesday night.

Farley's first official day as Hancock's police chief will be Nov. 5 after she retires from her position with UCSB. Her salary schedule, which also was approved Tuesday, will be $131,922, not including benefits. 

While she wasn't in attendance during the meeting, board members voiced their excitement to have Farley come aboard as the top cop on campus. 

"We're so excited about her appointment, and she'll be great in the community," Hancock College President Kevin Walthers said.

Board President Hilda Zacarias thanked the staff and board members for ending what she called a "rather arduous process but one I think that has really been worth the effort."

To her fellow board members, Zacarias said, "I know all of you will welcome her leadership onto campus."

Board member Dan Hilker briefly mentioned the first time he ever met Farley when he was employed as a police officer at UCSB, and the process Farley had to go through after working as a student employee with the department's bicycle safety team. 

"She graduated from the Police Academy, moved up the ranks, and we're looking forward to the fact that she will now be shepherding the campus's police department," Hilker said.

"Again, I express appreciation to [those involved in] the [selection] process and am looking forward to having Cathy with us a long time," Zacarias added.

Farley's appointment comes after two years of uncertainty surrounding the future of the department, and the Hancock College Board of Trustees struggle to fill the vacancy the last few years, particularly after the retirement of former Police Chief Wes Maroney and the abrupt departure of former Police Chief Paul Grohowski. 

Grohowski was hired in the fall of 2016, then spent his short time as chief evaluating campus policing and security services. He later suggested disbanding the campus's Police Department and contracting with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office for security services.

Ronald Schram then was named temporary police chief August 2017, followed by Chris Nartatez, who was appointed as interim chief of police. In January, the board voted to keep the campus's police department, and continued its search for a permanent police chief. 

Farley, who has more than 30 years of sworn and nonsworn experience at UCSB, was tapped to lead the Hancock College Police Department after a monthslong search for a new chief was restarted in June.

As the new police chief, Farley said she hopes to use the opportunity to rebuild the department and bring in new employees. 

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

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Courts/Public Safety Reporter