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Chula Vista’s First Woman Police Chief On Her Plans For The City

Photo credit: City of Chula Vista

Roxana Kennedy is pictured in this undated photo.

Chula Vista Police Department To Swear In First Woman Chief

GUEST:

Roxana Kennedy, police chief, Chula Vista Police Department

Transcript

Roxana Kennedy has been named the Chula Vista Police Department's first woman police chief. She's been with the department for 24 years and was also the department's first woman police lieutenant and captain.

Kennedy will oversee 224 officers and a budget of $50 million, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Kennedy told KPBS Midday Edition she hopes to improve customer service during her tenure.

"I'm not saying it isn't working already, but I'd really like to improve customer service and follow-up with the community," she said. "If a crime happens to you, it may not be a serious crime but it's a big deal in your life, and people have questions and want follow-up."

Kennedy said her other focus will be championing the job and the men and women who do it. She said while her department isn't seeing officers leave the force like in the San Diego Police Department, it's getting harder to recruit because of highly-publicized attacks on the police, including the killing of officer Jonathan De Guzman in San Diego, and increased scrutiny in the media.

"I'm hearing, 'Why would I want to go into law enforcement when there's so much negativity?'" Kennedy said. "So we have a lot of work to do in showing the other side of law enforcement. It's a great job."

Kennedy also told Midday Edition the department's policy on policing immigrants without legal status will remain the same under her watch. President-elect Donald Trump has said he wants to deport people living in the country illegally and could tap local law enforcement to help.

"If you're following the law, you're not going to have issues with Chula Vista (PD). If you're breaking the law, then of course your going to have issue," Kennedy said, explaining that federal immigration officials have a mandate to get involved if the individual has committed serious, violent crimes.

RELATED: San Diego Law Enforcement Won’t Change Immigration Enforcement Policies Under Trump

Kennedy has taught community policing in the regional police academy for more than two decades and said building trust with the community and involving many stakeholders is "just stronger, better policing."

Kennedy will be sworn in as police chief Friday.

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