Former Police Chief Frank McCoy was originally supposed to retire in October but stuck around for a few extra months to help City Manager Deanna Lorson in the search for a replacement.
McCoy officially retired on Dec. 28, and though a permanent chief has yet to be selected, Lorson appointed Police Capt. Manuel “Fred” Armijo as interim police chief while the search continues.
“I’m fully confident in Captain Armijo’s ability to lead the department professionally and with the utmost integrity, transparency and commitment through this time of transition,” Lorson said in a statement.
An Oceanside native, Armijo graduated from Oceanside High School and worked as a lifeguard for the city for four years before he joined the police department in 1994. Since then, Armijo climbed the ranks from sergeant to lieutenant and then finally police captain in 2011.
As captain, Armijo directed support operations, investigations and patrol divisions of the police department.
Armijo graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Academy, the Senior Management Institute for Police and the Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Workforce Education and Development, and a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership.
Armijo also serves on the Board of Directors for the Oceanside Promise, a community partnership between more than 60 organizations dedicated to helping children and young adults reach their full potential. He is also a member of the North San Diego County NAACP.
Armijo said he is honored to have been selected as interim police chief and does “not take this responsibility lightly” despite its temporary status.
“I very much appreciate all of the support and words of encouragement that I have received from within the Department, City government, and our community and look forward to serving as our City’s Interim Chief of Police,” Armijo told The Coast News via email.
In the meantime, the city is conducting an open recruitment process, which allows applicants from outside of the city as well as internal candidates from the police department to apply. Recruitment for a police chief will close on Jan. 22, 2021.
The firm Bob Murray & Associates was selected to manage the police chief recruitment process.
The city bid farewell to Chief McCoy at the Dec. 16 Council meeting. He was the longest-serving chief in the department’s history, during which he focused on community-based policing and helped to lower the city’s overall crime rate. Since he first became chief in 2006, the city has seen a 33% reduction in overall crime and a 28% reduction in violent crime.
In honor of McCoy, the city declared Dec. 16 “Frank McCoy Day.”