Sonoma Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez to retire

Sonoma Vice Mayor Kelson Barnett broke news at the Aug. 4 Sonoma City Party with an announcement that Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez is planning to retire after a 27-year career in law enforcement, including four years at the helm in Sonoma.

The city will now work with the county to find a replacement for its top law enforcement position.

Because the city of Sonoma contracts with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office for services, the process to choose a new police chief is shared between the Sheriff’s Office and key officials and public safety advocates for the city.

The county will interview prospective candidates for the position before selecting two contenders for the city to consider. The city will assemble a panel composed of two city council members, the city manager, Fire Chief Steve Akre and one key city stakeholder, such as the executive director of the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce or the Visitor’s Bureau, according to an email from acting City Manager Sue Casey.

However, the process could be further complicated depending on Rodriguez’s retirement date.

If he does not step down before December, Sonoma’s newly composed City Council will weigh his replacement. The city also needs to name a permanent appointee to city manager post, the top administrative role in city government.

“Chief Rodriguez has decided to postpone his retirement for a couple of months,” and a date had not been set for his departure, according to Casey.

Rodriguez succeeded longtime former Sonoma Police Chief Brett Sackett in 2018. A sheriff’s lieutenant at the time, he began his career in law enforcement in 1995 as a police officer in Petaluma. He joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1999, with promotions to sergeant in 2014 and lieutenant in 2018.

Contact Chase Hunter at and follow @Chase_HunterB on Twitter.

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