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Amanda Ray Sworn In As New CHP Commissioner
swear in CHP
New CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray, the first woman to lead the law enforcement agency in its history, was sworn in to office by Governor Gavin Newsom in a Nov. 17 ceremony. Photo Contributed

In a ceremony earlier this month, Governor Gavin Newsom administered the oath of office to California Highway Patrol (CHP) Commissioner Amanda Ray, a historic move making her the first woman in its 91-year history to lead the largest state law enforcement agency in the nation.

Newsom appointed Ray as the 16th Commissioner on Oct. 20, 2020, following the retirement announcement of Commissioner Warren Stanley after 38 years of service with the CHP.

She was sworn in to the office on Nov. 17.

“I am thankful to Governor Newsom for trusting me to lead this exceptional organization and honored to follow in the footsteps of many innovative leaders who have come before me, including my friend, Warren Stanley,” Ray said. “I would not be where I am today without the foresight of those in 1974 who decided to give women the opportunity to become CHP officers, paving the way for many women to assume leadership roles in the Department. I look forward to further guiding the Department and its 11,000 women and men in engaging with the communities we serve to ensure California remains a safe place to live, work, and visit.”

Ray began her career with the CHP in 1990, rising through the ranks to her appointment as Deputy Commissioner in February 2020. She has served as incident commander during several high-profile events, including the Department’s response to COVID-19, civil unrest, and wildfires.

Ray has appointed two members to her Executive Management team. They are Jim Epperson as Deputy Commissioner, her second-in-command responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Department, and Ryan Okashima as Assistant Commissioner, Staff, who will oversee the administrative functions of the Department, including a $2.8 billion budget, departmental training, information technology, and personnel administration. Rich Stewart was previously promoted in August 2020 to the position of Assistant Commissioner, Field, responsible for all patrol and air operations throughout the state as well as protective services.

The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.