PUBLIC SAFETY FACILITY — Santa Monica Police Chief Tim Jackman has named Al Venegas, a 23-year veteran of the department, to serve as the department’s second in command.

Venegas, 47, has been the acting deputy chief for the past six months, following the departure of Phil Sanchez, who became Chief of Police in Pasadena. Venegas was appointed to the permanent position on Tuesday.

“It’s huge — to rise to the rank of deputy chief, I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be there. I’m excited, I’m honored, I’m humbled probably more than anything,” he said.

As the second ranking member of the department, Venegas will be in charge of day-to-day operations.

He said upcoming challenges for the department include finding new ways to lower costs, improve efficiency and make better use of technology and crime data.

Born in San Diego and raised in Culver City, Venegas joined the Marine Corps after high school and served for seven years, including a stint as a drill sergeant. He joined the SMPD as an officer directly out of the police academy and has been with the department ever since, rising through the ranks to become the captain in charge of the department’s administrative services division for the past three years.

Venegas has a B.A. from Mount St. Mary’s College in English literature and expects to receive a master’s degree in Sociology and Criminology from UC Irvine in June.

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