Laguna Beach police chief to retire this summer

Laguna Beach Police Chief Laura Farinella talks with a resident at an event in 2015, the year she stepped into her role. She now plans to retire in July.
(File Photo)

Laguna Beach’s first female police chief plans to step down in July, closing out a 30-year law enforcement career in Southern California.

The city announced that Laura Farinella will retire after five years as chief.

Farinella stepped into her role in March 2015. She previously was deputy chief in the Long Beach Police Department, where she worked for 25 years.

She is Laguna Beach’s first female police chief and its 16th overall.

“Serving as chief for the Laguna Beach Police Department has been one of the greatest honors of my career,” Farinella said in a statement. “I am extremely proud of the work the Laguna Beach Police Department has done and all of the new ways we’ve been able to connect with our community.”

Under Farinella’s direction, the city said, Laguna achieved record-low crime rates and added full-time jailers and beach patrol officers, a foot patrol for the downtown area and police presence at Main Beach and Heisler Park through community outreach booths. The department also added its first school resource officer and established several other outreach programs.

“I am confident the achievements and momentum created by this department will continue to grow,” Farinella said.

Recruitment for a new police chief will begin soon, the city said.

“Chief Farinella leaves a legacy as a respected leader with a dedication to community-oriented policing, public safety and maintaining the highest standards of professional conduct in the department,” said Laguna Beach City Manager John Pietig. “The city of Laguna Beach is grateful to Chief Farinella for her leadership, unwavering commitment to this community and always putting the safety of our residents first.”

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