Morro Bay police chief departs after brief tenure

Gregory Allen

Following a little more than a year on the job as Morro Bay’s top cop, Police Chief Gregory Allen has announced he is leaving his position with the coastal San Luis Obispo County city.

Allen, who had a long career with the Los Angeles Police Department, has not revealed his reason for leaving the Morro Bay force. The city of Morro Bay has not explained Allen’s sudden departure either.

Morro Bay hired Allen on May 31, 2017. Allen’s last day as Morro Bay police chief will be Aug. 17.

“I have enjoyed serving as the chief of police for this department and the community,” Allen said in a statement. “Together we accomplished some great and honorable achievements, especially the betterment of communication between members of the community. I will always appreciate the teamwork that I experienced between the police department and its community.”

Allen served more than 30 years in LAPD, rising from beat officer to captain. After leaving LAPD, Allen became a police commander in the Salinas Valley city of Greenfield, where he was later appointed acting chief.

His stint in Morro Bay included an incident in February in which he physically tussled with a YouTuber who films police officers. Allen and another officer physically took YouTuber “Nasty Nathanial” to the ground after the cameraman refused to provide identification. The YouTuber was detained during the incident but ultimately let go.

Prior to Allen’s hire, city officials considered disbanding the Morro Bay Police Department and outsourcing law enforcement duties to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office in order to cut costs. Following outcry from residents, the Morro Bay City Council voted to drop the plan.

The city of Morro Bay has experienced considerable turnover among its top officials in recent years, including in the police chief position. Since 2010, Morro Bay has had four full-time police chiefs.

Morro Bay City Manager Scott Collins has appointed Police Commander Jody Cox to serve as acting police chief. Meanwhile, the city is beginning a search for Allen’s replacement.