PACIFICA — The city of Pacifica on Thursday announced the selection of Maria Sarasua as its next top cop.
Sarasua, an East Bay law enforcement veteran, is the city’s 11th chief of police and the first woman to hold the position. She replaces Daniel Steidle, who retired last year.
“Chief Sarasua is a proven leader and brings a breadth and depth of experience and values to Pacifica that will be an exceptional fit for the organization and the community,” City Manager Kevin Woodhouse said in a statement. She will begin work April 24.
Sarasua served as a police explorer and community service officer before becoming a deputy sheriff in Contra Costa County in 1995. In 2003, she joined the Pleasanton Police Department, where she spent 20 years and rose to the rank of lieutenant.
In a news release announcing her appointment, the city said Sarasua “is known as an innovator with a track record of building significant partnerships and working closely with the communities she serves” and “has a passion for mentoring and coaching others.”
“I’m excited to work with the dedicated men and women of the Pacifica (Police Department), and our city and civic leaders,” Sarasua said in a statement. “I look forward to getting to know the needs of our community and building trusting relationships and partnerships between the police department and all of those we serve.”
Sarasua holds a Master of Arts degree in leadership from St. Mary’s College and a Bachelor of Science degree in organizational behavior from the University of San Francisco.
She founded the Jefferson Award-winning nonprofit organization Bridgewatch Angels, whose volunteers spend all major holidays trying to prevent suicides on the Golden Gate Bridge.
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Sarasua is married with two grown children. Her husband, Benjamin Sarasua, is a retired U.S. Marine and a sergeant with another Bay Area law enforcement agency.