Department Information & History
The Morro Bay Police Department was first organized in 1965. Staffing includes Interim Police Chief Larry Todd, Commander Jody Cox, Support Services Coordinator Bonnie Johnson, 4 sergeants, 1 corporal, 9 officers (including 4 senior officers), 2 Detectives, and 1 part-time evidence/property technician.
Formation of the City
San Luis Obispo County was officially formed by a legislative act on February 18, 1850, with California being admitted into the Union on September 9, 1850. By 1852, San Luis Obispo County had been divided into 11 townships with Morro Bay being one of them. Morro Bay remained under the jurisdiction of the County Sheriff until the City incorporated in July 1964.
First Police ChiefOn Monday, May 17, 1965, William 'Bill' Holeman was hired as the City's first police chief. Chief Holeman came from the Seal Beach, CA, Police Department where he served as a captain. Chief Holeman was tasked with building the City's first police department, which began official operation on July 1, 1965. The new Department consisted of 3 sergeants, 6 patrolmen, and 1 policewoman for a total of 11 sworn officers, including the Chief.
The new police headquarters began in the old Fox Building where it remains today. This building provided 3,600 square feet of modern office space, the roomiest police station in the County at the time. Ironically, it is now the smallest police station in the County. On June 3, 1969, the Morro Bay City Council authorized a Police Captain position and Sgt. Richard Schact was promoted to this new position on July 1.
By the 1970s, the Department boasted 3 policewomen who were given patrol duties, but were still not paid the same as male officers. A job classification complaint was filed against the City resulting in equal pay and status. Original badges were not gender neutral and bore banners that read 'Policeman' and 'Police Woman'. Following the dispute, the original badges were replaced with new badges which read 'Police Officer'. At the same time, the first civilian dispatchers were hired to fill the positions previously filled by the policewomen.
Past Police Chiefs
Chief Richard Schacht
Chief Holeman retired on January 29, 1972, and Morro Bay Police Captain Richard Schacht was promoted to Chief. Chief Schacht's tenure came to an end after he was forced to resign against his will on June 7, 1979 for a back injury.
Chief Alfred Olson
Following Chief Schacht's dismissal, City officials appealed to County Sheriff Whiting to supply an interim Police Chief. Sheriff's Lieutenant Vaughn Castle, a Morro Bay resident at the time, was loaned to the Morro Bay Police department as Interim Police Chief. Alfred Olson, a lieutenant with the Laguna Beach Police Department, was named the City's new top cop in February 1980. Olson left the Department in November 1982 after only a couple years as Chief to take a police chief position with the City of Pacifica.
Chief Dave HowellDave Howell, a Morro Bay Police Lieutenant, hired as a sergeant in September 1981, was appointed Interim Chief upon Chief Olson's departure and was selected as the permanent Police Chief in January 1983. Chief Howell served as Police Chief until July 1994 when he took over as Interim City Administrator when his predecessor was fired by the City Council.
Chief Joe Loven
Police Lieutenant Joe Loven was named Interim Police Chief and a short time later, appointed permanent Police Chief. Chief Loven began planning his retirement for early 2004. The City conducted a recruitment for Chief Loven's replacement upon his retirement, who would serve as the Commander in the interim.
Chief John DeRohan
John DeRohan, a Police Commander with Pismo Beach Police Department was hired in October 2002 as the new Commander and soon-to-be Police Chief. On April 1, 2004, Chief Loven retired and Commander DeRohan took the helm as the City's top cop on April 3, 2004.
Chief Tim Olivas
Tim Olivas had the honor in 1987 of graduating from the Allan Hancock Police Academy in a Morro Bay Police Officer uniform. In 1989, then Officer Tim Olivas, left Morro Bay to become a Game Warden with the California Department of Fish and Game. Warden Tim Olivas promoted through the ranks to Captain of the marine Region, supervising Game Wardens along the California Coast, from the Oregon border to San Luis Obispo County. In 2004, destiny called Fish and Game Captain Tim Olivas back to the Morro Bay Police Department to serve as its Commander. Commander Tim Olivas was promoted to Morro Bay Police Chief in 2010, following the retirement of Chief John DeRohan.
Chief Amy Christey
Amy Christey served her first role as Chief of Police from November 5, 2012 to August 1, 2016. Chief Christey came to Morro Bay after working and extensive career at the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Department. She left Morro Bay to become the Chief at Pacific Grove Police Department where she could be closer to her family.