LIVERMORE -- A retired police chief from Foster City, Randy Sonnenberg, has taken over as the interim police chief for the city of Livermore, city officials announced Wednesday.

Sonnenberg officially began his new job Monday and will serve until a replacement is found for former Chief Steve Sweeney, who retired March 29.

"Being an interim police chief is the one thing I've never done," Sonnenberg said. "I've watched Livermore grow and I've seen the changes that have taken place in town, so when the opportunity came about, it really wasn't a hard decision."

Sonnenberg, 65, retired as chief of the Foster City Police Department in 2004 after serving there 30 years. In retirement, Sonnenberg performed private consulting work for various police departments, and remained active in professional police associations. He lives in Belmont, but has temporarily relocated near Livermore police headquarters.

Sonnenberg said his main roles over the next several months would be to maintain the department's day-to-day operations and perform an organizational assessment of personnel and structure to see what's being done well and what could be improved.

"There's the potential to relocate people within the structure to provide a better service level," Sonnenberg said. "I'm looking forward to seeing if I can take a great department and make it better."


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In the search for a temporary chief, Livermore City Manager Marc Roberts said, the city wanted a former chief of police who had also performed departmental assessments in the past, and Sonnenberg fit the bill.

"We're very excited to have Chief Sonnenberg helping us through this transition process," Roberts said. "He has a tremendous amount of experience."

Roberts added that the city is still early in the recruiting process for a permanent chief, which he expects to last into midsummer.

Sonnenberg, who was born in Dallas, is currently a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the California Police Chiefs Association. He has served as chairman of the Northern California Police Planners Officers Association, the San Mateo County Criminal Justice Council, and was vice chairman of the San Mateo County Police Chiefs Homeland Security Committee. Sonnenberg graduated college with a master's degree in public administration from the University of Southern California. He has been married for 32 years, has two sons and six grandchildren, and in his spare time enjoys golf, hunting, and wine-tasting.

Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.