In addition and with that accomplishment under her belt Farley has been appointed assistant chief of the UCSB Police Department. The first person in the history of the police department to hold that position, she was sworn in by UCSB Police Chief Dustin Olson in a ceremony on July 2.
"Cathy's completion of the FBI National Academy, and her promotion, speak directly to her ambition and can-do attitude," said Olson. "She is a huge asset to the department, to the university, and to the law enforcement profession."
Farley was part of the academy's 249th session, which included men and women from 48 states and the District of Columbia, 24 countries, four military organizations, and five federal civilian organizations.
Internationally known for its academic excellence, the National Academy program offers advanced investigative, management, and fitness training for selected officers who have proven records as professionals within their agencies. On average, participants have 19 years of law enforcement experience, and usually return to executive-level positions within their respective agencies following graduation. Training for the program is provided by FBI Academy instructional staff; special agents; and other staff members, many of whom who hold advanced degrees and are recognized internationally in their fields of expertise.
"They have only four classes a year, and the spots are very competitive," said Farley. "Only 1 percent of law enforcement officers have the opportunity to do this, so it's a huge deal." Farley has served on the UCSB Police Department for 25 years, and as a captain for six.
"I knew this would be an exciting, intense opportunity, and that it would be academically challenging and physically challenging," Farley continued. "But I was ready for it. And I like challenges." Given her personal history, that might be an understatement. In May 2008, Farley was diagnosed with high-stage breast cancer. "It was a wake-up call for me," she said. "But I'm a strong person and I just decided I was going to beat it." Beat it she did, and, following an aggressive treatment protocol, she has been cancer-free for three years.
"To have gone through all that when I didn't even know if I was going to survive and to be able to continue my job, and get healthy again within my job, and then to accomplish something that's a challenge even for a person who didn't have health issues it's a miracle in some sense," she said. "It's a new start. Everything's been a new start since survivorship."
Farley joined the UCSB Police Department as a student in the 1980's, when she worked with a bicycle safety team. After graduating from UCSB with a degree in psychology, she was recruited by the department. "I wasn't sure what I was going to do after I graduated, but I got hooked on law enforcement," she said. Serving as a university police officer appealed to her because she enjoys the diversity of the academic environment. "I love the opportunity to interact with students who are entering this next phase of their lives," she explained. "I feel very strongly that they're the generation of the future, and I welcome the opportunity to have a positive impact on them."
Farley is the fourth UCSB police officer to attend the FBI National Academy. Previous participants include Olsen, who attended in 2006, and former police chiefs Bill Bean and John MacPherson, who passed away in 2005.