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Novato hires Martinez Police Captain to be first female police chief

NOVATO (CBS SF/BCN) – Novato city officials hired Martinez Police Capt. Beth Johnson to be its next chief of police, making her the first woman to hold the position, officials announced on Wednesday. 

The city said Johnson was chosen after a national search for her skills as a "proven leader" and collaborative approach to policing. 

Martinez Police Captain, Beth Johnson, in her office at the Martinez, Calif. police station on Wednesday, February 5, 2020. (Samantha Laurey/Bay City News) Samantha Laurey

Johnson is a Bay Area native who grew up in Lafayette and has been in law enforcement for 28 years, going from dispatcher in Arcata on up to acting police chief in Martinez. She has a Master's in business administration with a concentration in public administration, a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice management, and is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Institute at Drucker's School of Management, Claremont Graduate University and the Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute. 

The new chief said she felt "fortunate and humbled" to have been chosen and that she hopes to focus on a culture of inclusion within the department but also the greater community. 

Johnson is a mother of four and her husband is a lieutenant with the Benicia Police Department, the city of Novato said. 

She will replace former Chief Matthew McCaffrey, who retired last December. Her first day will be July 5 and she will earn an annual salary of $226,596, the city said. 

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