SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom administered Tuesday the oath of office to new California Highway Patrol Commissioner Amanda Ray, a historic move making her the first woman in its 91-year history to lead the largest state law enforcement agency in the nation.
Newsom appointed Ray as the 16th commissioner on Oct. 20 following the retirement announcement of Commissioner Warren Stanley after 38 years of service with the CHP.
“I am thankful to Governor Newsom for trusting me to lead this exceptional organization and honored to follow in the footsteps of many innovative leaders who have come before me, including my friend, Warren Stanley,” Ray said. “I would not be where I am today without the foresight of those in 1974 who decided to give women the opportunity to become CHP officers, paving the way for many women to assume leadership roles in the department. I look forward to further guiding the department and its 11,000 women and men in engaging with the communities we serve to ensure California remains a safe place to live, work and visit.”
Ray began her career with the CHP in 1990, rising through the ranks to her appointment as deputy commissioner in February 2020, where she was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the CHP. She has earned numerous awards and commendations in her personal life and during her professional career with the department.
Ray served an integral role as the department’s first female to be assigned as the Special Response Team Tactical Commander during Super Bowl 50 held at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara. Her vast field experience has allowed her to effectively serve as incident commander during a variety of other high-profile events, including the department’s response to COVID-19, civil unrest and wildfires.
As a leader in law enforcement, Ray holds firm to the values set forth by the CHP’s Public Trust Initiative to serve and safeguard our communities with compassion and understanding. Throughout her career, Ray actively engaged with the communities she serves, seeking every opportunity to participate in outreach events and active involvement in departmental programs to provide the highest level of safety, service and security to the people of California.
Ray has appointed two members to her executive management team. They are Jim Epperson as deputy commissioner, her second-in-command responsible for the day-to-day operations of the department, and Ryan Okashima as assistant commissioner, staff, who will oversee the administrative functions of the department, including a $2.8 billion budget, departmental training, information technology, and personnel administration. Rich Stewart was previously promoted in August 2020 to the position of assistant commissioner, field, responsible for all patrol and air operations throughout the state as well as protective services.
Julissa Zavala contributed to this report.
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