Oceanside police North County
Oceanside police Chief Fred Armijo. Photo credit: ohsfoundation.org

Fred Armijo, a 27-year veteran of the Oceanside Police Department, has been named the city’s 19th police chief, City Manager Deanna Lorson announced Thursday.

Armijo, a lifelong resident of Oceanside, has headed its police force in an interim capacity since December, when then-Chief Frank McCoy retired after 14 years in the post.

As chief, Armijo will lead the department’s 314 employees and manage its $66-million annual operating budget.

Initially hired by the city as a lifeguard in 1989, Armijo joined the department as a sworn officer in 1994. He was promoted through the ranks as sergeant, lieutenant and, ultimately, captain.

In that role, he directed each of the department’s three divisions – operations, investigations and patrol.

Mayor Esther Sanchez said Armijo’s “community orientation and thorough knowledge of the police department make him an excellent choice to lead our department into the future.”

She added that she is “proud to have an Oceanside native leading our police department,” especially given that he was born and raised in the city while attending its public schools. Armijo, she said, “truly appreciates our diverse community.

“He is deeply committed to improving police-community relations, having had the unique opportunity to connect with all facets of our city throughout his career.” Sanchez said.

Armijo said he was “very honored” by his selection as the city’s top cop. He described himself as “humbled by the broad range of support I have received.”

“I want our community to know that its police department is (composed) of some very outstanding people who recognize we are living through challenging times and that we have a lot of work ahead of us,” he said. “My immediate priorities will be centered around training, accountability and community. This is the way forward to meeting our overarching goal of bringing about a sense of trust amongst all members of our community in its police department.”

Armijo, who holds a bachelor’s degree in workforce education/development from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Brandman University, is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the Senior Management Institute for Police.

In addition to his law enforcement work, Armijo serves on the board of directors of Oceanside Promise and is a member of the North San Diego County NAACP.

The city conducted extensive community outreach during the selection process for McCoy’s replacement, from interviews with local leaders to a citywide survey of residents about public-safety priorities, according to Lorson.

Four panels evaluated a field of candidates from throughout the state and provided feedback in the run-up to the appointment of a new police chief, she noted.