San Jose Assistant Police Chief Diane Urban, a 25-year veteran of the department and daughter of a former Los Angeles police officer, on Thursday was named Hayward's new police chief.
Her promotion makes Urban the eighth female police chief in the Bay Area - and the 23rd in the state.
"I've spent my whole life preparing for this opportunity," Urban, 47, said on Thursday, the same day she had to witness the first-ever layoffs of San Jose police officers.
Sixty-six cops were let go because of budget cuts. Urban's announcement of her departure prevented a 67th layoff.
"It was difficult to address my men and women" in the morning briefing, Urban said of the sad occasion. "I feel very passionate about what they're going through."
She said that her departure was unrelated to San Jose's fiscal troubles.
San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore called Urban's promotion bittersweet news.
"I'm very sad about losing her," Moore said. "On the other hand, it's a great opportunity for her. We're very happy for her, but it's a difficult day for us."
Urban, whose last day on the job in San Jose is Aug. 5, will take command of the 190-officer Hayward force on Aug. 8. She replaces Hayward Police Chief Ron Ace, who had served in that position for the past few years.
Urban said she had heard a few months ago that Ace was retiring and later happened to be up in the city giving a commencement speech at her alma mater, Cal State East Bay.
Things just came together, she said, adding that she was attracted to Hayward because the city of 150,000 has similar demographics and culture to San Jose. And, Urban said, she was familiar with area from her school days.
Hayward City Manager Fran David said Urban was among 30 applicants - seven of whom were interviewed for the job.
"I like her experience and I like her views on community policing,'' said David, who made the final selection and appointment. "I like the results she's gotten in San Jose, and I like her fit for our city.''
David said Urban's priorities will include fighting gangs and property crimes, among other issues facing Hayward.
Urban's loss will be felt in the ranks in SJPD, where she has been considered a leader and was a finalist for police chief before Moore was named to the position early this year.
"It really has been an incredible honor to serve this community for the past 25 and a half years," Urban said.
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said he wouldn't be surprised if Urban someday returns to San Jose as a police chief candidate.
Meanwhile, he said, "She'll do a great job for Hayward. I admire young women who come up the ranks and do a great job, and she fits that description.''
During her career in San Jose, Urban worked in the Field Training Office, Horse Mounted Unit, the Intelligence Unit and the elite MERGE Unit. She later commanded the Special Operations Division before Moore appointed her as assistant chief in January.
Urban graduated from Cal State East Bay with a degree in criminal justice. She also received a master's degree in applied social science from Boston University.
An avid equestrian, Urban lives in San Martin and has two daughters, ages 16 and 22. She said that for the time being, she will continue to live there.
Her base pay in San Jose is $181,790, and she will make just over $200,000 in Hayward.
Staff writer John Woolfolk contributed to this report. Contact Tracy Seipel at 408-275-0140.
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