SANTA MONICA—Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks announced her retirement on Friday, May 5, after 36 years of service.

According to a press release from the city of Santa Monica, in 1982, Chief Seabrooks was SMPD’s first African-American woman patrol officer. In 2007, she became the first African-American woman to serve as a police chief for a municipality in California. In 2012, she returned to the SMPD and became the chief of police.

“The distinctive spark that has carried Chief Seabrooks to ever-advancing roles of leadership was there from her time as a patrol officer. She will leave an indelible mark on the Santa Monica Police Department and we will miss her relentless focus on fighting crime, engaging our community and making our department a model of 21st Century constitutional policing,” said City Manager Rick Cole.

Seabrooks focused on building and strengthening partnerships between the community and the police and made changes in police practices to respond to community needs. While she served as chief, the SMPD started the use of a body-worn camera pilot, adopted an interoperable radio system, consolidated the Police and Fire Departments Communication Centers, updated critical equipment within the department, and obtained  technology needed to allow the department to respond to the legal requirements of AB 95, (Racial & Identify Profiling Act). Chief Seabrooks paid lots of attention to the development of the civilian and sworn staff. She was also an advocate for employee wellbeing.

“I am both pleased at and appreciative for the opportunity to have worked with our community, those in municipal administration, and the men and women of the Santa Monica Police Department as we collectively made Santa Monica a safer place. While I will miss all that is unique and wonderful about Santa Monica, I know the City and the Police Department are well prepared for this transition,” said Chief Seabrooks.

“Chief Seabrooks is a person of great integrity who is widely respected in the community and nationally. She has protected this city and upheld our values for three decades and for that, we are grateful,” stated Mayor Ted Winterer.

Over 460 sworn and civilian personnel are employed by the Santa Monica Police Department, which has an annual operating budget of $86.6 million.

Seabrooks’ retirement will become effective on September 30. A search will be conducted nationally to find the next police chief. An interim chief will be named while the search for a replacement is underway.