Top Cop: Laura Farinella ’86

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Chief Laura Farinella ’86

Laura Farinella ’86 has been on the job as Laguna Beach’s first woman police chief just since March, but her personal “road show” is quickly educating her about this artsy, eclectic town.

Farinella, Orange County’s only openly gay police chief, spends hours each week meeting with residents and members of community groups and organizations, listening to their concerns.

“I’m excited about my new position because now I can give back to the city and county that I love,” Farinella said. She and her spouse have two children, a 17-year-old daughter and 11-year old son, and live in Rancho Santa Margarita.

Farinella previously spent 25 years with the Long Beach Police Department, ending as deputy chief. She credits a high school friend who joined the Los Angeles Police Department for sparking her own interest in law enforcement. She adds that her Chapman University communications degree has proved invaluable.

“I truly believe that it helps no matter what your career,” Farinella said. “It’s a great foundation for any job, whether you’re an attorney, doctor or cop.”

At Chapman, she felt fortunate to interact with a diverse community of students and faculty and appreciated hands-on learning experiences.

“No matter what you end up doing after college, there is value to everything you learn,” she said. “Sometime later it will apply to your life.”

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