Close Panel

Chief's Staff & Support ServicesPolice Department SBPD

Chief Lori Luhnow

Chief Lori Luhnow was sworn in as Santa Barbara's Chief of Police on July 18, 2016.  She is the first woman executive in the Department's one-hundred-seventeen year history to lead more than 140 sworn officers and 90 civilians with an annual budget that exceeds $40M.  A Southern California native hailing from San Juan Capistrano, Luhnow is a graduate of the University California, San Diego with a Masters of Arts in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix.  She is also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy. 


Chief Luhnow is the architect of Santa Barbara's new approach to a Community Oriented Policing philosophy. Her focus is on building partnerships with stakeholders within the community to help identify the root causes of crime and then working together to solve community problems.  This proactive problem-solving approach reaps dividends to build stronger communities, increase community trust and involvement, and to reduce the prevalence and fear of crime within our community.


Prior to her appointment in Santa Barbara, Luhnow served twenty-seven years in the San Diego Police Department.  She rose through the ranks to become a Captain, heading the Department's Traffic, Patrol, Investigations, and Special Operations Divisions. Luhnow also directed operations for the City's Family Justice Center and oversaw its Domestic Violence Unit.  Her last assignment with San Diego included commanding the Regional Public Safety Institute which trained newly hired officers from the region's multiple enforcement agencies.


Luhnow has received numerous awards and citations throughout her career including: the Women in Blue Award and the Sutin Civic Imagination Award, both of which focused on community outreach; the Tribute to Women & Industry Award for innovation and leadership; and the Exceptional Performance Award from the SDPD for her mentoring work.


Chief Luhnow most closely identifies with the athlete that resides in all of us.  Developed as a young woman, athletic prowess and fitness, are the cornerstone to her success and trajectory.  Gumption, tenacity, and grit along with being a consummate competitor ensured failure was never an option.  At 12, she became a California Regional Speed Skating Champion; she was a collegiate three-time NCAA Volleyball National Champion; in her law enforcement career, a Police and Fire Games Doubles Beach Volleyball World Champion (with her twin sister); and in 2015, a velodrome Masters Track Bicycle Sprint State Champion at 500 meters.


She is the proud mother of 7 yr. old "Steve" the dog, a rescued white shepherd-mix and two of the most adorable cats known to humanity.

Chief’s Staff

The Office of the Chief of Police has 42 personnel assigned, both sworn and non-sworn, and is composed of two sections: Chief's Staff and Support Services Division.

The Chief’s Staff Section is comprised of the Chief and her assistants. They develop and review policy and procedures providing direction for the maximization of the total law enforcement effort.

Chief: Leads the Department operating under the philosophy of Community Oriented Policing.
Chief's Secretary: Provides staff support and is Secretary to the Fire & Police Commission.
Public Information Officer: The official spokesperson for the Department handles and coordinates all media involvement.
Professional Standards: The Inspection and Control Sergeant conducts personnel complaint investigations, internal audits, and assists in the defense of police civil litigation cases.

Support Services

The Business Office provides the department with budgetary, payroll, purchasing, and personnel functions.

The Parking Section staff processes parking citation payments and vehicle releases at the Public counter. 

Last Updated: Nov 27, 2017
Top of Page