After 29 years in law enforcement, with the last nine years spent as Chief of Police for the City of Atascadero’s Police Department, Jerel Haley will be retiring, effective Oct. 16, 2020. 

Jerel Haley Photo

Haley was appointed as Atascadero’s Police Chief in October of 2011, following an extensive national recruitment effort. During Chief Haley’s tenure here, he made community engagement, building relationships and enhancing partnerships between the Police Department and the community a high priority. Notable highlights include his involvement in assisting the Parents for Joy organization to fundraise and open the all-inclusive Joy Playground at the Colony Park Community Center and donating his time off at numerous local fundraising events, such as his unforgettable dancing performance for the “Dancing with our Stars” fundraiser to benefit the Friends of the Atascadero Library.

Under his leadership, the Atascadero Police Department has continually been involved and very active in the community with events such as the “Special Olympics Torch Run”,  semi-annual Special Olympics basketball game, “Coffee with a Cop,” the “Peace Officers’ Memorial” as part of National Police Week, “National Night Out” and the “K-9 Wine & Dine Spaghetti Dinner” to name just a few. In addition, Haley is no stranger to public speaking, sharing his knowledge and expertise at local Rotary, Kiwanis and other non-profit organization meetings and public forums to discuss safety, homelessness and a variety of current topics. 

“Chief Haley has truly been a major asset to the community and our entire team here at the City,” said Mayor Heather Moreno, “We have been blessed to have had such a professional and an incredible leader of our Police Department and he will be sincerely missed.”


City Manager Rachelle Rickard states, “Chief Haley has been a fantastic Chief of Police and has been a critical member of our Executive Management team. His legacy will always be his impeccable reputation, exemplary leadership and open, caring style that has fostered a culture of compassionate professionalism here at the City. He has been an ethical leader and expects a lot of himself and the members of the Atascadero Police Department, ensuring that high standards of conduct have continuously been and will remain a high priority.”

Prior to his appointment in Atascadero, Haley served as a member of both the Santa Cruz and Santa Maria Police Departments.  During his tenure in law enforcement, he served as Field Training Officer, Street Crimes Detective, Sexual Assault Investigator, Narcotics Investigator, SWAT Team member and Community Services Officer.  Just prior to his appointment as the Chief of the Atascadero Police Department he was a Lieutenant with the Santa Maria Police Department and was responsible for supervision of the Investigations Division, SWAT Team and both their Police K9 and Chaplain programs.

Regarding his plans for retirement, Haley said, “I made the decision a little over 8 months ago to retire and start a new career in Maui. I am excited about what possibilities the future holds for my family and me. Oh, and I can’t wait to spend a little more time with my grandchildren!”

Rickard states, “Although we will miss him terribly, all of us here at the City of Atascadero are very happy that Jerel and his wife Holly are making their retirement dreams a reality and October 16th will officially be his final day with the City. He will be leaving the members of the Atascadero Police Department with very high standards that are now part of the hometown fabric of our community. Please join us in wishing Chief Haley a wonderful and fulfilling retirement!”