San Mateo County Sheriff-elect Christina Corpus announced Dec. 20 that Mountain View Police Chief Chris Hsiung will join the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office as undersheriff.
“I’m excited to welcome Chief Hsiung to the team, and to bring him home to San Mateo County,” said Corpus in a Dec. 20 statement. “This is a renowned professional with a demonstrated commitment to enhancing community safety and officer wellness. We share a modern approach to this work, and I know he will help me make the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office a premier law enforcement agency.”
The announcement comes one day after the news that Hsiung will be stepping away from his role as Mountain View's police chief, which he has held for the past two years, in February. Hsiung has served the department for nearly three decades.
Hsiung said the decision to leave wasn’t an easy one, given how long he’s served in Mountain View.
“I was very conflicted because of how much I love Mountain View, plain and simple,” he said. “That’s been my life for the last almost three decades. It’s the community, the people, the culture, my department.”
After getting to know Sheriff-elect Corpus, “the more it became clear that she and I have very similar views and vision on how we feel policing should be,” Hsiung said.
“It’s taking a look at the current culture in policing and understanding that a lot has to change, and that as leaders, it’s our responsibility to really push the profession forward,” he said. “The best way I can describe it is what you see in Mountain View: We care deeply for our own employees. … And in turn, we also know that that’s exactly how we expect you to treat the community, too.”
With the new position overseeing a much larger agency, Hsiung said, “it’s just a tremendous opportunity to take that work and continue onward with the hopes that it spreads even beyond just San Mateo County.”
Hsiung described the undersheriff position as “the No. 2 person” under Sheriff-elect Corpus.
“The undersheriff basically runs everything internally in the Sheriff’s Office, while the sheriff position itself, obviously has oversight, but is mostly focused outwardly as an elected official,” he said.
Having grown up in Foster City and now living with his wife and four children in San Mateo, Hsiung said the new job “is almost like coming back home, in some sense.” But he added, “I didn’t envision this chapter closing so soon in Mountain View.”
According to the Sheriff’s Office statement, Hsiung will be the first Asian American undersheriff in San Mateo County history.
Hsiung will begin his duties as undersheriff in early February. He said he looks forward to learning the ropes in a different type of law enforcement agency.
“I love learning,” he said. “Having been almost three decades in policing, I don’t have the same amount of experience in corrections or all the different breadth of resources and teams and units that a sheriff’s office has. So it’s going to be like drinking from a fire hose, and I’m totally excited at that chance just to learn and grow.”