Huntington Beach

Police Chief Handy to retire

HUNTINGTON BEACH Police Chief Rob Handy (City of HB photo).

Huntington Beach Police Chief Robert Handy has announced his plans to retire after a 30-year law enforcement career.

“After more than 30 years in policing – nine as a police chief and seven years here in Huntington Beach – it is time for me to focus on my health, family, and whatever comes next in life,” said Handy. “Serving the community here in Huntington Beach has been an incredible privilege for which I will always be grateful.”

Handy came to Huntington Beach in 2013 while the community was working to address civil disturbances during the US Open of Surfing, which had created widespread public safety concern, Handy led the city’s police department in an effort to develop a balance between the needs of the business community to provide quality entertainment venues and events, while also maintaining the high quality-of-life standards that residents deserve and expect, say city officials.

“During the past seven years, Chief Handy has left an indelible positive mark on Huntington Beach,” said Mayor Lyn Semeta. “From the community-based policing practices that he instituted, to the technology improvements he championed, to the advancements we’ve made as a city in addressing homelessness – there is no doubt that Chief Handy has been the central figure driving our efforts to improve public safety here in Surf City, and our community will enjoy lasting benefits because of all his efforts. Chief Handy’s presence will be missed at city hall, and I wish he and his wonderful family the very best as he prepares for retirement.”

Handy’s tenure has not been without controversy. During a three-year labor contract standoff between the city and the Huntington Beach Police Officers Association, the union steadily criticized Handy, claiming low morale in the department and urging the council to replace him. However, on a 6-1 vote, the council in 2018 awarded Handy a five-year contract extension good through 2023.

In his time with the city, Handy led numerous efforts to engage the community, build trust, and improve levels of service to residents, businesses, and visitors, say city leaders. Citywide crime rates having fallen by 14 percent during Handy’s time in office. Downtown crime rates fell even further over that time period, declining by 36 percent.

“I am very appreciative for the support my family and I received from the members of the [police] department, community, city management and the City Council,” said Handy. “The City of Huntington Beach and its citizens are in great hands as the police department is full of incredible people who serve this community with honor each and every day.”

Handy will be retiring later this month, and the city is working to finalize plans to identify a successor to serve as Huntington Beach’s next chief of police.


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