Janet Thiessen, 50, becomes the first woman in the city’s history to lead the 149-person police department.
Tracy City Manager Leon Churchill announced his appointment this week, though the Tracy City Council must OK the hiring before Thiessen is added to the city payroll. Thiessen’s first day on the job is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 2.
She beat out 49 other candidates in a nationwide search to replace Krauss, who left last fall after nine years on the job. Deputy Chief Rick Golphin, the interim chief since Krauss’ departure last fall, and Capt. John Espinoza both made the final list of five candidates. Golphin will go back to his deputy chief position.
Churchill chose Thiessen, he said, partly because she’s a good mentor and develops better employees, she’s involved in the community and community policing, and because she likes to recruit a diverse police force.
"She is the right person for Tracy for now and the foreseeable future. We need the leadership, the community relationship building," Churchill said. "… It’s about being visible"
Thiessen will earn $160,000 a year.
Thiessen came from Olathe, Kan., where she had been chief from 2002 until she resigned last November. Olathe, population 122,500, was named by Money magazine in 2008 as the 11th-best U.S. city to live in.
It had roughly 170 officers when she took over in 2002, and it had about 220 when she left, according to the Kansas City Star.
Thiessen told the Kansas City Star last November that she was proud of her work to prevent racial profiling in Olathe and to "set standards for police conduct and practices."
"You can accomplish things so long and bring changes, and it’s time to look for your next opportunity," she told the Star.
Churchill said there was some resistance inside the department to the changes that Thiessen brought.
In a statement released by Tracy’s city manager, Thiessen said: "I actively demonstrate a high level of ethics and integrity, creativity, strategic thinking and effective interpersonal skills."
Thiessen has a bachelor’s degree in administrative justice from the University of Portland, and she attended the FBI National Academy in 1997, Churchill said.
She started her career in law enforcement in 1981 as a patrol officer in Vancouver, Wash., where she rose to the rank of deputy chief until her move to Kansas. She resigned that job Nov. 11.
In her letter of resignation, Thiessen wrote "after much thought and discussion with my family, I have decided it is the best interest of the department and our family for me to resign my position as chief of police," according to new reports.
Thiessen and her husband, Ray Hopper, have three teenage daughters, two of whom will attend Tracy High School when her family moves here.