Meet Kimberly Petersen, Fremont’s seventh Police Chief, who was sworn in last week and has loyally served the department for over two decades and implemented new programs such as the Trailing Dog Program and the Mobile Evaluation Team (MET).

Read on to learn more about Chief Petersen’s passion to continue the City’s proactive approach to public safety, what most excites her about Fremont’s smart city initiative, and how her college soccer experience has influenced her own management style.

Q: First, congratulations on being appointed as Fremont’s Police Chief! As an internal candidate with 22 years of experience spanning five positions, this latest promotion speaks volumes about the leadership bench of the Fremont Police Department (FPD). How has this organization invested in its employees?

The FPD has a long history of investing in our employees through training and wellness. We go well beyond Police Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) minimum requirements; within the first three years of employment, we send all new officers to a three-day course on conducting interviews, assessing drug influence, and writing search warrants. It doesn’t stop there. We promote life-long learning and formal leadership training at every level of the organization. We are currently working to send all Officers and Dispatchers to crisis intervention training. Many employees receive thousands of hours of formal training throughout their careers.

Investing in our employees’ health is another foundational piece of our success to help staff manage the stress of the profession. We actively focus on keeping employees healthy in order to ensure career longevity. We maintain a gym for employees with all the latest workout gear, as well as an outdoor mat area. We contract with a certified trainer to help employees develop appropriate fitness routines and nutrition plans. Additionally, we provide mental health support by maintaining a strong Peer Support team and providing access to counselors. We recently held a full training day on mindfulness as part of our wellness program.

Q: Fremont has a well-earned reputation for being a safe city, and while it is not immune from modern policing challenges, there is a strong sense of professional efficacy in the Police Department. How would you describe the values that guide Fremont’s approach to public safety?

We are guided by the underlying values of integrity, dedication, and professionalism. The FPD maintains high standards and expectations for both character and work performance for all of our personnel. We are always pushing ourselves to get better by fostering a culture of innovation and agility. Our size allows us to adapt to changes in technology, law, and community expectations more quickly than larger police organizations. The collaboration and support we receive from our community in solving and preventing crime is one of the most important keys to our success.

Q: You have been a part of Fremont’s smart city efforts which will help the organization harness technology to be more efficient, transparent, and equitable. What projects are you most excited about in this area?

I am most excited about our smart city initiative to develop a centralized system for our public to report non-emergency issues such as homeless encampments, downed trees, etc. The system will greatly improve our responsiveness as a City when community members can easily alert us to issues that require attention, but don’t necessitate a 911 call.

Q: Some people may not know that you are a competitive soccer player, starting at Stanford, and continuing overseas. How did team sports contribute to your management style?

Team sports teach us so much more than the sport itself. They teach us how to work as a group toward a single goal; how to support and interact with teammates even when we are very different people. Playing a sport like soccer can teach us that while most of the time we play a supporting role, it’s also important to be ready to perform when the critical moment arrives and our team is counting on us. Team sports teach us the “growth mindset” so that we always strive to improve, and the understanding that improvement takes practice, hard work, and sometimes failure. All forms of team sports are beneficial, not just for the athletic achievement, but for all of the life lessons that come with them.

Police Chief Kimberly Petersen during her swearing-in ceremony.