SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGET) – The California Highway Patrol has a brand new leader.
“I am honored if I can be a role model to anyone,” Amanda Ray said.
Amanda Ray is making history in California.
She’s the first woman and second African American Commissioner to hold the position in the largest law enforcement agency in the country. She was sworn in this week.
“I don’t feel pressure, I feel a sense of pride to go out there and move our department forward, it’s more of an honor than anything,” Ray said.
But for the Oakland native, a career in law enforcement was not her original dream:
“I grew up wanting to be a dentist. I came onto the CHP to earn money for grad school. I had a plan to stay approximately 2-3 years.”
She ended up staying on for 30, so far. She’s served at every level of law enforcement commanding recent high-profile events including the department’s response to COVID-19, wildfires, and civil unrest.
Following a tumultuous year across the country for law enforcement but with just days into the job, Ray says she isn’t ready to share her vision just yet for the CHP.
She did say opening up lines of communication with the community is key.
“We will be able to improve the public trust and public relations through more self-examination, looking at our policy and procedures anywhere where we can see if there’s anything we can do to improve ourselves and thus improve those relationships,” Ray said.