Kelly Rodriguez, the first female captain in the Huntington Beach Police Department, will make local history again as the department’s first assistant chief.
“I’m very excited to keep the community safe and make everybody happy and do the best I can,” Rodriguez told the City Council on Monday after it approved her appointment to the position. She will start Jan. 12.
Rodriguez was selected after being interviewed by a panel of law enforcement professionals, according to a staff report. She will receive an annual salary of $192,212.
Mayor Erik Peterson and Mayor Pro Tem Lyn Semeta congratulated Rodriguez, describing her as an asset to the community and capable of defusing explosive situations.
Rodriguez began her career in public safety in 1989 as a custody operations deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
She joined the Huntington Beach Police Department in 1996 as a patrol officer and has held various positions since, including school resource officer, special enforcement bureau lieutenant and uniform division commander.
Rodriguez holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Cal State Long Beach and a master’s in public administration from National University.
In 2017, an independent consulting firm recommended creating a second-in-command position to “improve departmental operational efficiency” and establish a “ladder of succession planning.”
Police Chief Robert Handy has said a jump from captain to chief is “too big to make” and that having the assistant position would prepare a potential chief.
In other business Monday, the City Council gave final approval to establishing a city Harbor Commission to supervise Huntington Harbour’s recreational and commercial uses and infrastructure.
The seven-member commission will offer input to the council and study and analyze harbor issues.
Huntington Harbour, in the northwest corner of the city bordering Seal Beach, includes five islands and a network of channels and connects to Anaheim Bay.