He succeeds Lee Violett, who has led the department during the interim since the former chief, Bryan Roberts, left in August 2012 after only 23 months in the position. Mr. Jonsen arrives at a troubled time for the police department, and will be the fifth chief hired during the past eight years.
Expected to take over in mid-February, the new chief "brings a unique blend of successful experience in police operations, community awareness and sensitivity, and innovative use of technology," Mr. McIntyre said in a press release on Jan. 30. The position comes with a $185,000 annual salary.
For the past two years, Mr. Jonsen served as captain of the Lancaster Sheriff's Station in Los Angeles County, overseeing 227 deputies in the city of about 157,000 residents. Prior to that, he headed an "anti-crime effort in Antelope Valley that helped reduce crime rates to their lowest in over a decade," according to the press release.
Mr. Jonsen earned a bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach, and a master's degree in organizational leadership from Woodbury University in Southern California.
"There are no words to adequately express my excitement returning to the Bay Area after living and working in Los Angeles for the past 30 years," Mr. Jonsen said in the press release. He was born and raised in the Bay Area, according to Menlo Park city staff.
He will be formally appointed after the city completes the background check required of California police chiefs when they accept a position with the department of another jurisdiction.