The city of Pacifica and the Pacifica Police Department offered their heartfelt welcome last week to the city’s new police chief. Chief Maria Sarasua was sworn in and gave a speech to a roomful of officers, friends and family after she took her oath of office.
The ceremony was run by City Manager Kevin Woodhouse. Mayor Tygrajas Bigstyck also gave a welcome speech. Each of the speakers touched on the long journey of finding a new police chief, but all were confident that Sarasua was the right choice.
Sarasua’s predecessor, Chief Dan Steidle made the trip from Texas to welcome the new chief. He was thanked by Sarasua and other speakers. Steidle had spent 29 years in the Pacifica Police Department and the last seven of those as the department’s chief. He stepped down in June to take a position with a police department in Texas.
Bigstyck spoke highly of Sarasua and her history of service.
“Learning that our new chief is somebody who was shuttling refugees from Ukraine to places of safety immediately instilled in my heart the sense that we have absolutely the right person for this job, and so deeply, deeply grateful to welcome you to the Pacifica Police Department,” said Bigstyck.
Sarasua has also helped with humanitarian efforts in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Prior to this role she worked with the Pleasanton Police Department for almost 20 years and spent the last seven as a lieutenant for the department. Many of her fellow colleagues from the Pleasanton Department showed up in support.
“My heart is filled with joy for this amazing opportunity to serve the city of Pacifica and lead the fine men and women of the Pacifica Police Department,” Sarasua said in her remarks. “It takes a village to raise the chief, and I'm honored to have so many from that village here this afternoon.”
Sarasua, who is the city’s first-ever female chief, gave many thanks to her colleagues, husband and children and spoke of her excitement to be joining the Pacifica community.
“So many people would describe Pacifica as a destination. I would also describe Pacifica as a destination organization,” she said. “I am so excited to learn from and support our city's executive team. They are truly dedicated public servants who embody care and compassion, and consistently deliver exceptional service to all who live, work and play in Pacifica.”
This version corrects to reflect that former Police Chief Dan Steidle was in attendance for the swearing in.
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