The Laguna Beach police chief will depart less than five months into his tenure as the city’s top cop, according to a city press release on Friday.
Police Chief Robert Thompson was on-boarded in January after serving as the police chief in Dixon, Calif. His last day with Laguna Beach will be May 28, according to a press release. Capt. Jeff Calvert is the interim police chief effective Friday, city officials said.
“The public safety of our community is paramount, and I have full faith that Captain Calvert will guide the Laguna Beach Police Department through this transition to ensure community and police force safety,” City Manager John Pietig said in a prepared statement.
Thompson was not immediately available for comment late Friday.
City officials offered no details about the outgoing chief’s exit, only saying city management and Thompson, “agreed to conclude their employment relationship.”
Thompson brought 26 years of law enforcement experience to the job, including a stint as a supervisory special agent with the FBI field office in Fairfield, Calif. He succeeded retired police chief Laura Farinella, who broke historic barriers as the department’s first female police chief.
The Laguna Beach Police Employees Association’s Executive Board of Directors expressed its sadness and disappointment in the news of Thompson’s departure on Friday.
“Chief Thompson was precisely what our department and members needed,” the Association said in a prepared statement. “In his short time here, Chief Thompson recognized several issues and worked tirelessly to address them one by one. Change is difficult, but sometimes it is necessary for the benefit of all. Under Chief Thompson’s leadership, employee morale has vastly improved, productivity and efficiency have increased dramatically, and we are on route to becoming the world-class police department that our citizens deserve.”