Bernard “Barney” Melekian has nearly 50 years of local law enforcement experience, most recently as the Interim Police Chief in Santa Barbara for 17 months. He also served as the Assistant Executive Officer for Public Safety in Santa Barbara County and the Undersheriff for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office from 2015 to 2018.
Barney was the Police Chief for the city of Pasadena for from 1996 until 2009. During that period, he held assignments as the acting City Manager and the acting Fire Chief. In 2009, Chief Melekian was selected as the Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) by Attorney General Eric Holder. He served in that capacity until March 2013.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in American History and a master’s degree in Public Administration, both from California State University, Northridge. In 2012 he was awarded a Doctorate in Policy, Planning and Development from the University of Southern California for his doctoral project on Values-Based Discipline in Law Enforcement Organizations. His thesis was selected as the recipient of the Sol Price award for the best dissertation in 2012.
Dr. Melekian has provided consulting services to numerous jurisdictions throughout the United States including Seattle, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Dr. Melekian has worked with Moreno Valley (CA), Skokie (IL) and Prescott (AZ) the LAPD. Additionally, he has participated in several high-level after-action reviews including the Christopher Dorner review, the killing of four Oakland police officers and the LAPD SWAT incident that resulted in the death of a hostage.
Barney served in the United States Army from 1967 to 1970. He was a member of the Coast Guard Reserve from 1984 until 2009. During that time, he was called to active duty in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm and served in Saudi Arabia. He served a second tour of active duty in 2003 when he served for eight months in the Pacific area. He retired from the Coast Guard Reserve as a Chief Petty Officer in 2009, after 25 years of service.
Bernard Melekian currently lives in Santa Barbara with his wife, Nancy.