San Luis Obispo County Sheriff, Ian Parkinson, was sworn into office on January 3, 2011. He has served as a law enforcement officer in this county for over 26 years. Parkinson joined the Morro Bay Police Department in 1984 and transferred to the San Luis Obispo Police Department in 1988, where he rose to the rank of Captain, second in command of the department.
In recognition of his outstanding service, he was twice awarded the department's “Distinguished Service Award.” In 2004, Parkinson was also awarded the City of San Luis Obispo Employee of the Year.
The Sheriff has been an associate faculty member at Allan Hancock College since 2001, where he taught traffic accident investigation. Currently the Sheriff teaches leadership development for active duty police officers.
During his career in law enforcement, Sheriff Parkinson was assigned virtually every assignment available to a police officer, including: major crime investigator, training officer, traffic officer, lead defensive tactics instructor, narcotics investigator (Situational Oriented Response Team), field supervisor, and administrative sergeant. Parkinson assisted in directing the development of the first San Luis Obispo County Regional SWAT Team. A longtime SWAT team leader, Sheriff Parkinson inherited the project from a predecessor and helped develop further team management and focus. With the support of all of the chiefs of the participating agencies, Parkinson was able to form a Regional SWAT team that consists of members from San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Pismo Beach, Cal Poly and Morro Bay Police Departments.
Ian has been married to his wife Amy for over 20 years. They have two children, Alec and Cole. His parents are residents of San Luis Obispo County, as are other members of his family. Sheriff Parkinson is active in martial arts, enjoys skiing and water sports, and has coached youth baseball and football. Parkinson also has served as the Chief of Security for the California Mid-State Fair for the past 18 years.