The new Hermosa Beach Police Chief Sharon Papa took the oath of office on Tuesday, beginning a new chapter of leadership within the HBPD.
“This is a good day, I’ve been waiting for this day for a very long time,” said City Manager Tom Bakaly, who was in charge of the hiring process for the new Chief. “I’m very glad that it’s finally here.”
The Hermosa Beach community theatre was packed with both police officers, city dignitaries and citizens who were there to watch the new chief begin her career at the HBPD. The local police department has been without a permanent chief since January 2012 when the former long time Chief Greg Saveli stepped down for a job at the Department of Transportation.
“We need someone who’s both modern and but still old school, laid back but will demand high performance,” Bakaly said during the ceremony. “We needs someone who makes decisions with data matrix but isn’t afraid to go with their gut and need we need someone who is going to be open and collaborative with the community. I’m very pleased we’ve found that in Sharon Papa and I pleased she’ll be chief of police for the best little beach city.”
Mayor Kit Bobko, who originally threw his support behind another candidate, performed the oath of office.
“Many of you know this has been a long process for our city and I am very pleased to have Sharon joining our team,” Bobko said. “We are a small very unique city and I look forward to Sharon’s leadership that we very much need and would like to be the first one to welcome her to my city, Hermosa Beach.”
Papa was selected from a field of 47 applicants, which was narrowed to a selection of six finalists.
“I just think it’s going to take me probably the first few months to really get to know the community,” Papa said in an earlier interview. “I plan on spending the first few months taking to everybody in police department and city. I also want to get involved in the community – I want to be accessible. If they have community events I’m hoping they’ll invite me. I want to become part of the fabric of the community.”
Papa will be replacing Interim Police Chief Michael McCrary who began serving in April and HBPD veteran Steven Johnson who served as interim chief the previous year.
“Chief Papa, we all hope you will come to love our city, that you will come to know us as your friends and you will appreciate the very uniqueness of Hermosa Beach,” Rabi Gila Katz said during the ceremony.
“I’m truly humbled and honored today and want thank you all and thank Tom Bakaly and the city of Hermosa Beach for giving me this opportunity,” said Papa, who had to raise her voice above the thunderous applause.