Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks Announces September Retirement

30 year career marked by a lack of risk taking, lack of transparency, and a huge pension

5/5/17: In a press release as lavish with praise as her $434,000 a year paycheck, the City of Santa Monica announced that Santa Monica Police (SMPD) Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks is retiring.

At 58, she will draw a $330,000 a year pension from the City of Santa Monica for the next 30 years, mortality tables say. That's $10,000,000 over 30 years, from a City who's annual budget is $610,000,000.

Her career was kind of typical, aside from her ethnic background. Sorry, but it's true. Under her leadership, the Department continued it's lack of transparency, wrote a remarkable number of parking tickets, and paid officers more money than any other police department in the world. Petty crimes tripled downtown as the Expo train opened last May, a fact that was not really Seabrooks' fault, but which she never really addressed or even admitted. Nothing was done about homelessness.

"The salary and benefits that Jacqueline Seabrooks received are not her fault. She was well qualified. She is staying exactly five years. That has been a consistent pattern in Santa Monica for city managers, police and fire chiefs. It maximizes their pensions," said SM Arts Commissioner Phil Brock.

"But Seabrooks' salary is not her fault. The city council offered her that salary. As long as our city council and city manager are not willing to roll back salaries to match other cities, we will continue have a significant problem. Pasadena's chief took a $100,000 drop in salary to become their chief of police after he was SM's assistant chief. Our pay scale is out of control. Not Seabrooks fault...she accepted what was offered and that was probably more than any Police Chief should receive for the size of the force they command in Santa Monica," said Brock.

But you no doubt want to hear what her friend Rick Cole, the highest paid City Manager in the United States, had to say. So here's the rest of the City Press release:

"(Seabrooks) announced her retirement after 36 years as a law enforcement leader and trailblazer. Chief Seabrooks began her career at SMPD as its first African-American woman patrol officer in 1982. When she became chief of the Inglewood Police Department in 2007, she made history again as California's first African-American woman to serve as police chief for a municipality. Santa Monica was fortunate to welcome back Chief Seabrooks in 2012 when she returned to her roots and took the reigns as our 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," said City Manager Rick Cole. "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."

Chief Seabrooks has consistently provided transformational leadership as she implemented the tenets of 21st Century policing during a time of national conversation regarding policing practices. She has focused her leadership on strengthening community-police partnerships and building a force that is responsive to community needs. She has also been quick to adapt to changes in police practices and trends.

Under her leadership, SMPD launched a body-worn camera pilot, implemented a state-of-the-art interoperable radio system, consolidated the Police and Fire Departments Communication Centers, updated the SMPD's critical equipment, and acquired the hand-held technology needed to enable SMPD to respond to the legal requirements of AB 953 (Racial & Identify Profiling Act) well ahead of schedule.

Chief Seabrooks provided decisive and steady leadership in the aftermath of a spree shooting which gripped the community in June 2013. This mass shooting, which occurred against the backdrop of a Presidential visit, left six people dead, including the suspect. Chief Seabrooks has also been attentive to civilian and sworn staff development and on employee wellbeing. She is a member of various professional associations, serves on the boards of directors for several community organizations, serves as a mentor to aspiring police executives, and is often asked to speak on contemporary public safety issues at various symposia and conferences.

"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," said Mayor Ted Winterer. "She has protected this city and upheld our values for three decades and for that, we are grateful."

The Santa Monica Police Department employs 460 sworn and civilian personnel and has an annual operating budget of $86.6 million.

Seabrooks' retirement becomes effective September 30, 2017. A national search will be conducted to find the next police chief. An interim chief will be named while the search is conducted.


Reader Comments(2)

SeekingTruth writes:

Fake facts are all over the start of this story. Ok, so you have an opinion about the Chief's career. If you understood anything about police work, you'd know there's plenty of folks across the country, not to mention across CA , who flatly disagree with you about her. We were lucky to have her come back and now that she's leaving, you might want to consider what the new chief is going to cost. Experience, skill, knowledge, personality, education, and an ability to relate to the officers won't come cheap.

RonDezvous writes:

Why do you guys insist on printing false information? The Chief's salary is $307k, not $434k. The Chief and the Officers of SMPD aren't even the highest paid in the state let alone the world. The police have nothing to do with homelessness. The bears go where they get fed. And when criminals don't do jail time for their crimes, you can't honestly expect the courts to put homeless people in jail for violating infractions. Crime is up in every city if you haven't noticed thanks to the brilliance of CA voters and Prop 47 and 57. Stop hating on SMPD and realize the pay and benefits are what attracts quality employees. Otherwise who would want to work here? Its too expensive, its very difficult to get to, and the politics are from another planet. The pay and benefits is what makes it tolerable to drive 40 miles to work. If you have lived in any other city you would know SMPD is head and shoulders above most in quality of service and responsiveness.