Close to 100 community members, fellow officers and city staff turned out for the ceremony at City Hall on Wednesday, Dec. 23, where Mayor Becky Campo thanked outgoing Chief Tyrone Spencer for his 14 years of service before officially swearing in 33-year-old Hughes.
Hughes’ appointment puts her in ranks with a select 212 female chiefs nationwide — less than 2 percent of the total number of all police chiefs — according to a 2008 survey by the National Center for Women and Policing.
While Hughes — who served as the sheriff department’s west area watch commander while training with Spencer — hasn’t explicitly outlined goals for her term as chief, she said she does have a plan she’ll work from.
“It feels great to have finally made it here,” Hughes said. “I want to do so many things, but one of my biggest visions is to build a positive relationship with the community. Right now, I feel the community has this negative view of our officers and law enforcement, and I want to change that.
“Building a trust between the two is going to be very important.”
Though Hughes been in law enforcement only 10 years, Campo said her selection was based on her education, the emphasis she placed on Neighborhood Watch and the push for community policing throughout the city’s interview process.
That helped her beat out tough competition from then-West Area Watch Commander Mario Cisneros and Central Area Watch Commander Mike Radford in July. The three candidates were scored during a series of interviews with Patterson City Manager Cleve Morris, a panel of other area police chiefs, a group of community members and the City Council.
“So far, it’s a marriage made in heaven,” Campo said at the ceremony. “We can’t wait to start to utilize Tori’s new and fresh ideas so we can make Patterson a little bit safer.”
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