SANTA MONICA (CBSLA) – Santa Monica’s police chief is stepping down from her position a few months after the looting and vandalism that roiled the city during the social justice protests over the summer.
Chief Cynthia Renaud will retire effective Sunday. She began leading the department in April of 2018.
Former Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks will resume the role of interim chief until a permanent replacement is found.
In a statement released last week, the city cited “strained community-police relations” as contributing to her decision.
“Recognizing that recent events both here in Santa Monica and around the nation have strained community-police relations, Chief Renaud has made the decision to step aside so that the Santa Monica Police Department can continue to move forward,” the statement read.
Santa Monica police came under scrutiny for its response to the looting that occurred during the police brutality protests over the summer. On May 31, the agency arrested more than 400 people who went into local businesses along Santa Monica’s famous Third Street Promenade, destroying and ransacking stores.
A Change.org. petition calling on her to resign in the wake of those events had garnered more than 66,000 signatures.
Renaud will take on the role of president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
“Serving as Chief in Santa Monica has been one of the highlights of my career,” Renaud wrote in a statement. “I am proud of our record over the past two years in times of unprecedented scrutiny and challenge for law enforcement.”
Seabrooks lead the SMPD from 2012 to 2017.