San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson was sworn into office on January 3, 2011. But his career in public safety has spanned more than 33 years.
Sheriff Parkinson joined the Morro Bay Police Department in 1984, and four years later transferred to the San Luis Obispo Police Department, where he rose to the rank of Captain. As second in command of the department, he twice earned the “Distinguished Service Award” in recognition of his outstanding service.
During his career in law enforcement, Sheriff Parkinson fulfilled virtually every assignment available to a police officer, including major crime investigator, training officer, traffic officer, lead defensive tactics instructor, narcotics investigator, field supervisor, and administrative sergeant. He has also supervised at every level of law enforcement, including Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain and Sheriff.
Sheriff Parkinson has led numerous public safety efforts, including the establishment of the San Luis Obispo County Regional SWAT Team. He also served as the Chief of Security for the California Mid-State Fair for 18 years and has been inducted into the Mid-State Fair Hall of Fame.
As Sheriff, he has spearheaded advances in technology that are vital to the success of a modern and responsive department. These updates include new software programs, an upgraded video recording system in patrol vehicles, a video visitation system at the jail, smartphone technology for school safety, and state-of-the-art training aids that provide effective, reality-based training.
The respect Sheriff Parkinson has earned in law enforcement has prompted Governor Brown to appoint him to roles on two state boards – the California Rehabilitation Oversight Board in 2012, and the California Seismic Safety Commission in 2014, a position he still holds today.
Locally, Sheriff Parkinson spends many nights and weekends serving on community boards and supporting nonprofits and community projects. He maintains a visible presence in the community in order to see, hear and address all public safety issues, including those in the most remote areas of the County.