Santa Monica Chief of Police James T. Butts, Jr. made Tuesday, August 22, his last day in office before moving on to become Deputy Executive Director of Law Enforcement & Protection Services for Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA). In his place, Deputy Chief Phillip Sanchez assumes leadership of the Police Department on an interim basis, according to SMPD Captain Jacqueline Seabrooks.
The search for a successor to Chief Butts moves forward, as September 22, 2006 has been set as the last day to accept candidates’ resumes in the process being organized by City Manager P. Lamont Ewell and the Sacramento search firm of Peckham & McKenney. After consultation with community groups concerning desirable qualities in a new chief, a recruitment brochure has just been finalized, and the City Manager hopes to announce a selection in early autumn.
The community turned out to bid farewell to the Chief on Saturday afternoon, August 19, at Virginia Avenue Park at a barbeque organized by the Santa Monica Police Officers Association, Santa Monica Firefighters Local 1109 and 7-11 Stores. Citizens had their pictures taken with the man of the hour, munched hot dogs and mingled with uniformed officers, civilian department employees and other law enforcement resources ranging from horses and dogs to motorcycles and a classic cruiser.Butts, 52, served Santa Monica as Chief of Police for 15 years. He will remain available to the department for consultation after assuming his duties at LAWA, where he will oversee the nation’s largest airport law enforcement and security organization and be responsible for leading more than 1,200 sworn and civilian personnel. Before coming to Santa Monica in 1991, he served nearly 20 years at the City of Inglewood Police Department as a police officer, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and deputy chief.