Latisha Marshall, Santa Cruz Harbor
The Santa Cruz harbormaster’s job is as multi-faceted as the harbor itself – from the fuel dock to the swimming beach and boatyard – it has a lot of moving parts and requires thinking on your feet. Latisha Marshall took on the position of harbormaster here in January of 2015. She came from a background in police work, where she had a lot of experience in public safety. She quickly grew to understand the operations side of it. “The administration part was new,” she said. “But I like to be constantly challenged and pushed out of my comfort zone.”
She has been in law enforcement since the 1980’s, starting her police career in Santa Cruz. She started working patrol and was then moved to a sexual assault unit. For eight years she investigated child abuse, domestic violence and elderly abuse. “I really loved that job,” she said. “I helped families, adults, kids through hard times. I aided the victims in their recovery and helped them get their confidence back. And putting bad guys in prison.”
She was then recruited to work for the United Nations law enforcement in Kosovo where she set up police training centers. Over the course of 13 years, she was sent to 52 different countries to help train police officers. “I worked with officers from Norway to Egypt,” she said. “I learned a lot about different cultures, religions, ethnicities, and how to work successfully with people of different backgrounds."
This experience prepared her for the diverse groups that play and work from the Santa Cruz harbor. The commercial fishing boats are a draw to locals and tourists. “Tourists definitely like to watch offloading, especially crab. People gather to take pictures and ask questions. Little kids love it,” she said. And added that H & H Seafood, the local buyer is also a big draw for chefs and people who live in Santa Cruz and want really fresh, local fish. “We are a small boat harbor,” she said. “The depth is only about 12 feet, so we can’t really support big boats. It’s important that people support our small fishing boats that offload here.”