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Lisa Rosales, has been hired as San Pablo's new Police Chief. (Pasadena Police Department)

SAN PABLO -- Pasadena Police Department Commander Lisa Rosales has been tapped to replace retiring San Pablo police Chief Walt Schuld, a move that gives the department its first woman and first Latina to serve as top cop, the city announced Monday.

"(Rosales) is someone who is very engaging, very impressive," said San Pablo City Manager Matt Rodriguez, who made the decision after a nationwide search. "She has a demonstrated record in working with a gamut of services, from gang units to community programming, so she is going to be instrumental in our community policing programs here."

Rosales, a 27-year veteran of the Pasadena force, will start work April 28, "shadowing Schuld and getting integrated," Rodriguez said. She'll assume full command next month. An official swearing-in ceremony and reception is scheduled for May 7.

Rosales' selection followed months of searching for the next chief and culminated with a public interview process with one other top candidate, police Capt. Kevin Gardner of the Sacramento Police Department, on March 26. An offer was made to Rosales the next day, Rodriguez said. Schuld, a 31-year department veteran, announced last year that he would retire in May.

Rosales takes the reins of a department grappling with a recent spate of violent crime that ended a stretch of calm that lasted over a year. No homicides were recorded in San Pablo in 2013, the first year without a killing in the 30,000-resident city since the 1980s. But three people have already been shot and killed this year, with the most recent homicide occurring March 29.


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Rosales grew up in Highland Park, and worked as a substitute teacher before being hired by the Pasadena Police Department in 1987, according to a city news release. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of San Diego and a master's degree in public administration from the University of La Verne. Her starting base salary is $177,144 annually. Schuld's base salary is $202,968.

Rosales could not be reached for comment.

A profile of Rosales published April 1 in the El Vaquero Newspaper at Glendale Community College said she chose to pursue a career in law enforcement in part because the serial killers dubbed the "Hillside Stranglers" murdered two of her friends. In the article, Rosales described the challenges in her early career of being a woman in a male-dominated profession, but she said the environment had improved and stressed education as key to advancing in the field.

Rodriguez said he expects Rosales to be the department's chief for the "long haul" and noted that she is bilingual. More than half of San Pablo's residents are Latino, according to U.S. Census figures.

"Given her commitment to the city, I expect that she will serve here for a considerable period of time," he said.

Contact Robert Rogers at 510-262-2726 or rrogers@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/SFBaynewsrogers.