Today, Fremont Police Chief Kimberly Petersen announced she will retire from the City of Fremont in the fall of 2021. City Manager Mark Danaj will promote Captain Sean Washington as Fremont’s next Police Chief.
“I am profoundly grateful for Chief Petersen’s pioneering leadership during one of the most pivotal times in our nation’s history. Her commitment to excellence, accountability, and transparency in policing is beyond compare; the Fremont community has benefitted enormously from her progressive ideals. I am also very proud of the strong organization Chief Petersen leaves behind in the Fremont Police Department, which is well positioned to build on her legacy,” stated City Manager Mark Danaj. “We are all thankful that Chief Petersen has provided such generous notice, which will allow ample time for a smooth transition of leadership.”
Chief Kimberly Petersen began her law enforcement career with the City of Fremont in 1996 and quickly rose through the ranks, reaching the historic milestone of being appointed as the City’s first female Police Chief in July of 2018. Over the course of Chief Petersen’s 25 years of service to the Fremont community, she has held numerous positions. Chief Petersen first broke gender barriers by becoming the City’s first female member of the SWAT team, where she served in multiple capacities, including team leader for seven years. Chief Petersen also notably developed Fremont PD’s Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) team in partnership with the Fremont Fire Department, becoming an expert in Tactical Medicine and advancing the City’s ability to render immediate life-saving care in an expeditious manner during critical incidents. Since implementing the program, she has served on several committees for State of California Commission on Peace Officer Standards (POST) and California Emergency Medical Service Authority (EMSA) to help develop State guidelines and advance training standards in this field. In 2017, she expanded the department’s capacity to respond to situations of acute mental illness and health crises through comprehensive crisis intervention methods and training; through the creation of a specialized Mobile Evaluation Team (MET) in partnership with the Fremont Human Services Department and Washington Hospital Health Care System. Most recently, she led the department through the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, while remarkably maintaining a high-level service to the community.
Following the tragic death of George Floyd in 2020, Chief Petersen took swift and decisive action, immediately denouncing his death and holding a virtual Town Hall meeting attended by more than 800 people. This was followed by “Engage Fremont,” a series of community engagement dialogues to discuss policing and race. Since then, Chief Petersen has implemented several new policies and operational changes to align with community feedback. Some of these changes include updating the Use of Force policy, increasing cultural diversity training, adding to the MET team and expanding their mission to serve homeless residents, and significantly increasing information available on our Transparency Portal. Operational changes have focused on de-escalation, reconfirming the department’s commitment to building trust by moving the Community Engagement Unit under the Chief of Police, and incorporating civilian participation in the lieutenant promotional process. She is also currently working with FUSD to reimagine the SRO program and partnering with Ohlone College to help increase positive interactions with teens and young adults, as well as advance educational opportunities for Department personnel.
“It has been an honor to work alongside the men and women of the Fremont Police Department,” stated Police Chief Kimberly Petersen. “Coming here for the last 25 years never felt like work because it was such a joy to be part of this team, and because the work is so meaningful. I will truly miss the people. I look forward to watching the Department continue to advance its culture of professionalism and adaptability. I will especially miss the community events like Coffee with a Cop and the Community Academy. I know the residents of Fremont and the Department will be in great hands under the leadership of Sean Washington.”
Chief Petersen intends to retire on October 1, 2021 and has committed to seeing the department through the pending leadership transition. Following her retirement, Chief Petersen plans to spend the next couple of years focusing on her family. She especially looks forward to spending more time with her three kids and continuing to help coach their sports.
Fremont’s next police Chief:
“One of the most important appointments a City Manager makes is that of the Police Chief and it is with that understanding that I enthusiastically appoint Captain Sean Washington to this critical role. Sean’s esteemed career with the Fremont Police Department and continual display of ethical and just leadership have long made him an obvious choice as the Department’s next Chief,” stated City Manager Mark Danaj. “I look forward to working with Captain Washington and our community in this next chapter of the Fremont Police Department.”
Captain Sean Washington joined the Fremont Police Department in 1997 and over the course of 24 years has held a variety of roles including detective, Field Training Officer, SWAT Team Member, Arrest Control Instructor, Driving Instructor and served as the supervisor of the School Resource Officer Unit. Captain Washington was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2007, Lieutenant in 2011 and Captain in 2015. Over the last six years he has rotated as commander of the Department’s three divisions and has vast organizational knowledge. Captain Washington currently oversees investigations, internal affairs, training and personnel.
Captain Washington is active within the Fremont community as well as within the law enforcement profession. Captain Washington has coached several local high school teams in Fremont, is the Department’s coordinator for Special Olympics of Northern California, has organized charitable events benefiting members of the community and developed the FPD Community Safety Fair. He currently serves as the president of the Alameda County Commanders’ Group, an associate member of the California Police Chief’s Association (CPCA) and is an active member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), as well as many other professional associations.
Captain Washington has helped lead recent efforts in responding to evolving community expectations. This includes leading a committee to update the department’s use of force policy, developing a comprehensive department training plan, conducting outreach to members of our diverse community, enhancing the department’s use of force review process, providing training on professional standards and accountability and initiating cultural diversity training for new and experienced department personnel. In the summer of 2020, Captain Washington was invited to the State Capitol to engage in dialogue regarding contemporary policing with high ranking state officials. Over the past year, Captain Washington has been asked to be a guest speaker at several community events and a local university on the topic of police/community relations. Captain Washington also led one of the nation’s first electric police vehicle pilot programs for the City of Fremont, aligning the police department with the City’s goal of reducing carbon emissions.
“I am honored and thankful for the confidence and trust of the City Manager and the City Council. I am humbled to have the opportunity to serve this fantastic community in this unique leadership role. I am committed to the continual advancements of the Fremont Police Department. I am also appreciative of Chief Petersen’s ongoing leadership and the dedicated professional service of the men and women of FPD,” stated Captain Sean Washington.
Captain Washington earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Hayward in 1997 and a master’s degree in Administration of Justice from San Jose State University in 2007. In 2015 Captain Washington graduated from the Police Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T) Command College, Class #57.