New Police Chief Appointed

Alex Yao will join UC Santa Barbara’s police department as chief of police in the early part of fall quarter

Following a nationwide search and extensive consultation with faculty, staff and students from our campus community, Alex Yao has been appointed UC Santa Barbara’s new chief of police. Currently a captain in UC Berkeley’s police department, he will begin his new role during the early part of fall quarter.

As UC Santa Barbara’s newest public safety manager, Yao will work closely with members of the campus’s Police Advisory Board, chaired by Professors Geoffrey Raymond and Sharon Tettegah, as well as with the broader campus community to build community partnerships, review policing policies, enhance the transparency of operations, improve interactions with the community, further the mission and values of our University, and create a welcoming and safe living and learning environment, noted Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Garry Mac Pherson is a message to campus announcing the appointment.

Yao has 28 years of service with the University of California, the majority of his professional career spent on the Berkeley campus. He began his career in public safety as an undergraduate at Berkeley, serving as a Cal Watch Volunteer and a Community Service Officer, Mac Pherson continued. After graduating, he continued serving the University and over the course of his career became the second-highest ranking officer in the department. Throughout his career, Yao has demonstrated a commitment to community service, outreach and engagement. He has worked closely with students, faculty and staff as well as with community stakeholders to build partnerships that have strengthened his department’s relationship with the community it serves.

”We look forward to the experience and leadership he will bring to further the same goals on the UC Santa Barbara campus,” Mac Pherson said. "We are grateful to all those community members who participated in the search for our new chief of police and provided valuable input and advice. I specifically want to thank the faculty, staff and student members of the search advisory committee, who, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, remained dedicated to the process that began in winter quarter.”

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