SANTA MONICA—Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole has chosen Kenneth Semko, the current Captain of the Santa Monica Police Department’s Operations Division as the new interim Chief of Police. His position will be effective as of Friday, September 29, 2017.
According to a press release from the city of Santa Monica, Captain Semko will serve in the role while an internal and external recruitment is conducted to replace current Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks who will retire from her position on Thursday, September 28. Semko is a 26-year veteran of SMPD and has held positions throughout the organization, including the Homeless Liaison Program, patrol, SWAT, and as a K-9 handler.
“The public safety challenges in Santa Monica don’t stop while we select a successor to Chief Seabrooks,” said City Manager Rick Cole. “Captain Ken Semko has the right character, experience and values to step immediately into the role of leading the Department. With a talented Department behind him, Captain Semko will continue to fight the rise in property crime, respond to the regional homeless crisis, deal with the disturbing efforts by so-called “white nationalists” to disrupt peaceful gatherings in our community and advance our efforts to be a model of 21st Century policing.”
Back in 2011, then Lieutenant Semko was chosen to create the City’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) where he created and oversaw the development of Santa Monica’s state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center, implemented citywide disaster preparedness training and recruited members for the City’s first Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). He served as the City’s OEM Manager until his promotion to Police Captain in May 2013.
“I am both humbled and excited to have the opportunity to lead the men and women of the Santa Monica Police Department through this time of transition,” said Captain Semko. “I look forward to building on the relationships developed under Chief Seabrooks’ leadership to foster an environment of collaboration to address the issues that have the greatest impact on the wellbeing of the community we serve.”
Captain Semko was a teacher of law enforcement audiences on the national stage and has expert knowledge on K-9 management and supervision. He served as the Division Commander for both the Strategic Services and Operations Divisions of the SMPD and served as the Deputy Chief of Police for the second half of 2016. He is a leader in law enforcement homeless engagement practices and is responsible for the development of innovative law enforcement protocols to address the rise in the homeless population in Los Angeles County.
Kenneth holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in organizational leadership. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, California POST Command College, Northwestern University’s Executive Management Program, Harvard University’s Senior Executive Program and holds an Emergency Manager’s certification through the State of California’s Office of Emergency Services.
In order to ensure the process is open to all candidates, Captain Semko has voluntarily committed to not being an applicant. The chief selection is anticipated in early 2018. Captain Semko will earn a monthly salary of $21,204.