Joseph A. Farrow Takes Up Post as UC Davis Police Chief

Police Chief Joseph A. Farrow with Chancellor Gary S. May
Chancellor Gary S. May poses with new Police Chief Joseph A. Farrow during his swearing-in ceremony. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Quick Summary

  • Farrow is a 37-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol, one of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies
  • Farrow takes the helm of the department today; public swearing-in event to be announced.

Chancellor Gary S. May today swore in Joseph A. Farrow as University of California, Davis chief of police in a private ceremony. A public swearing-in event will take place in the next few weeks.

Farrow served as the commissioner of the California Highway Patrol from 2008, under former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and current Gov. Jerry Brown. 

“Joe Farrow has more than 37 years of public safety service, and our campus will benefit in numerous ways because of his leadership, commitment and experience,” then-Interim Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter said at the time of his selection. “He’s excelled in fostering trust, developing innovative programs and building support with diverse communities. We are eager for him to advance the tremendous efforts we have made over the last several years.”

In his role as CHP commissioner, Farrow led more than 11,000 employees who are part of one of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies. In his long career with the CHP, he held every rank since graduating from the CHP Academy in 1979. His distinguished career began as a police officer in the small California city of Pacific Grove. 

He is a graduate of the FBI’s National Academy and National Executive Institute. He is also a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and has served as the chair of its Officer Safety and Highway Safety Committees. Farrow was appointed by former California Attorney General Kamala Harris to the California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board, and he is a member of the University of Southern California Safe Communities Institute and the California Peace Officers’ Association. He was appointed by the governor to be California’s representative to the National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics.

Farrow has received numerous awards, including the J. Stannard Baker Award for Outstanding Achievements in Highway Safety, the Outstanding Criminal Justice Professional Award from the National Alliance of Mental Illness, and the Special Award of Recognition from the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. He also received the president’s award from the Asian Pacific State Employees Association.

Farrow earned his master’s degree in education from California State University, San Diego, and his bachelor's degree in criminal justice from California State University, Sacramento. 

As the UC Davis chief of police, Farrow has oversight over 80 full-time employees and 50 student employees at both the Davis campus and the university’s medical center in Sacramento. 

Farrow succeeds Matt Carmichael, who served as police chief for five years and retired from the University of California in September 2016. Lt. Jennifer Garcia served as interim chief of police since following Carmichael's retirement.

“I would like to thank Jennifer Garcia, who has served as the interim chief since September. She has done a remarkable job during this time and we are grateful for her continued service to the department,” Hexter said.

Media Resources

Kimberly Hale, UC Davis News and Media Relations, 530-752-9838,

Dana Topousis, UC Davis News and Media Relations,

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