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The Capistrano Dispatch

After more than 30 years of law enforcement service, San Juan Capistrano’s Chief of Police Services Lt. Scott Spalding has announced his upcoming retirement. After an extensive interview process, City Manager Ben Siegel announced on Nov. 16 that Lt. Carl Bulanek has been selected as the city’s new chief of police services and will assume command on Friday, Nov. 24.

Lt. Bulanek is a 23-year veteran of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and has served as administrative lieutenant for custody operations, watch commander, range sergeant, ICE sergeant, tactical officer at the Orange County Sheriff’s Regional Training Academy, a school resource officer, part of the special enforcement team and a patrolman. Bulanek has also been a faculty member at Santa Ana College for the past seven years.

“Lt. Bulanek believes in a community-based policing approach to law enforcement and promoting a police/community partnership to improve the overall quality of life in the community,” Siegel wrote in his weekly city manager update.

After serving 34 years in the fire service, Chief John Abel is also retiring. Abel has been serving as the Division 3 chief and is the fire chief of San Juan Capistrano.

The Orange County Fire Authority announced that Chief Rob Capobianco has been promoted to division chief and will be starting his new position overseeing Division 3 on Thursday, Dec. 21.

Chief Capobianco started with the Orange County Fire Authority as a paid call firefighter in 1988. While volunteering his time, he completed his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California-Santa Barbara. He was then hired as a firefighter/paramedic in 1999. During his career with the OCFA, Capobianco has been involved with the urban search and rescue team, swiftwater rescue team, and the critical incident stress debriefing team. Capobianco has also served as a training officer and fire investigator and spent time as a battalion chief in Battalions 6 and 7, and most recently as the battalion chief in the fire investigations section.

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