Robert Jonsen, a 26-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, has been named the new police chief of Menlo Park, City Manager Alex McIntyre announced Wednesday (Jan. 30).
Mr. Jonsen succeeds Lee Violett, who has been interim chief since the former chief, Bryan Roberts, left last August.
Mr. Jonsen, who is expected to take over in mid-February, "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.
For the past two years, the new chief has been 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 Menlo Park press release.
Mr. Jonsen holds 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 a Peace Officer Standards and Training compliant background check is conducted. The check is required of California police chiefs when they accept a position in a department where they are not currently employed, according to the press release.