ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. - After nearly 10 years on the job, Steven Annibali is serving as Arroyo Grande Chief of Police one final time today.
"It's actually hard to believe that it's come," said Annibali. "After 40 years, 10 years here, you come to realize it's time and it's time."
The San Diego native announced his retirement last week. He will be recognized at tonight's City Council meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
"We've been able accomplish here a plan to really make a top-notch law enforcement agency and serve a city that really supports the police and a city that provides a high-level of service," Anniabli said.
Annibali began his law enforcement career with the Los Angeles Police Department in 1978. He later moved on to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
Following his time in San Diego County, he served as the Chief of Police in Breckenridge, Colorado and later in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.
On August 27, 2007, he moved into his current position in Arroyo Grande, where he helped implement several changes within the department.
According to a city press release, Annibali established significant upgrades, particulary with techonology.
"We introduced new technology in our communications," Annibali said. "And we introduced as one of the first in the county, and the state, our blue watch public surveillance system, when first introduced was quite controversial, but noW it's quite common."
He also set professional standards, plus improved training and crime analysis.
"We introduced a crime analysis program, where we actually track, in quite detail mapping of where crimes occur in the city," said Annibali.
The release also states he also installed many cost-cutting measures, such as fleet leasing and contract services, such moving dispatch to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office.
"We've saved a lot of money while I've been here, for many, many years all through the tough times that we went through the recession," Annibali said. "By returning back to the city quite a bit of our budget that was not used, some of it had to do with personnel, but a lot had to do with programs. It saved the taxpayers a lot of money."
In addition, he created the Neighborhood Services unit, a program that concentrates on quality of life issues within the city.
Annibali also led the transition of the Arroyo Grande Police Department into a modernized facility.
After two separate bond measures were defeated by voters that would have funded an entirely new police facility, the department instead redesigned and refurbished its existing building on Halycon Rd., which it has used since 1973.
The remodeled building cost approximately $3.5 million, several million dollars less than a new building would have cost.
"I'm very proud of the fact that we were able to complete this building and remodel and really reconstruction for half the cost of what it would have been for a new police facility," Annibali said.
As he departs, the chief noted the city faces several challenges, most notably traffic, homelessness and maintaining quality of life.
But, he says staff is in place to handle those concerns, giving him optimism with what lies ahead.
"I see a very bright future for Arroyo Grande, some of the normal challenges, but a great future," Annibali said.
Following Annibali's retirement, Commander Beau Pryor will serve as the Interim Chief of Police.