City Manager, Derek Johnson announced the appointment of Captain Jeff Smith as the City’s Interim Police Chief while a national recruitment for Police Chief is undertaken.   Interim Police Chief Smith has been in policing since 2001 and joined the City of San Luis Obispo in 2003.  Smith was promoted to Police Captain in 2016 and has overseen Police Operations and Administration.  As Captain, Smith has been part of many special assignments and worked closely with community partners including leading a Homeless Task Force. During this time he has worked with the County to secure funding for a fulltime social worker that is assigned to the Police Department’s Community Action Team, served on the Homeless Services Oversight Committee (HSOC) Board and is currently the chair of a Homeless Encampment Committee through HSOC.

jeff smith, slo police

He has also served on the Women’s Safety Committee, Elder Abuse Committee, Domestic Violence Committee, Crime Stoppers and as a Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention (SARP). Board member. His almost 20 years in policing has included assignments as a Field Training Officer, Defensive Tactics Instructor, participation on the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) regional team and supervision of specialized teams in the areas of patrol and investigations.

“I have complete confidence in Interim Chief Smith’s abilities to lead the Department during these uncertain times.  He is a balanced and compassionate leader with breadth and depth of knowledge and commitment to serve community” stated City Manager Johnson.   Smith expressed his willingness to serve in this Interim role stating, “I am passionate about serving our community and am committed to providing the Department with continuity.”

Prior to his career in policing, Smith served in the United States Coast Guard Reserve, was an educator and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Master’s in Education. He augmented his educational foundation by participating in the Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute 2009, obtaining his Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Management Certificate, and graduating from the FBI National Academy in 2016.

The City expects to launch the national recruitment for the next Police Chief in mid to late October, following selection of an executive recruitment firm that will lead the search efforts.  Community input on the qualities that the public wants to have in the next Police Chief are essential. 

“I look forward to meeting and hearing from the community on the qualities, skills, and characteristics that our community wants in the next Police Chief” stated City Manager Derek Johnson. 

The City plans on utilizing the recruiting firm to engage community stakeholders and provide the entire community via an online survey, the opportunity to weigh in on establishing a description of the “ideal candidate” to help recruit a Police Chief that reflects the needs and values of our community.  Recruitment and selection are expected to take 4 months.

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