California Highway Patrol Commissioner Amanda L. Ray
California Highway Patrol Commissioner Amanda L. Ray

The Black woman leading the largest state law enforcement agency in the nation is stepping down after two years.

California Highway Patrol Commissioner Amanda L. Ray announced her retirement this week effective December 30. Ray was appointed the 16th Commissioner of the CHP on Nov. 17, 2020 following Warren Stanley — who was the first African American named to the position. 

“I am humbled and proud to have served as the Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol for the last two years.” said Commissioner Ray.  “I am confident the Department will continue to thrive through the commitment and compassion of the incredible women and men of this great organization.”

Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Ray as the 16th Commissioner of the CHP; the first woman to lead the Department of more than 11,000 members.  Prior to her appointment, Commissioner Ray served as the Deputy Commissioner and was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the CHP. 

Commissioner Ray began her career in 1990 in South Los Angeles before being promoted to Sergeant and Lieutenant in Santa Fe Springs.  She has served as Commander in the Riverside and Hayward Areas, and an Assistant Chief in Golden Gate Division and Inland Division, before being promoted into the CHP Executive Management team. 

Commissioner Ray played an integral role as the Department’s first female to be assigned as the Special Response Team Tactical Commander during Super Bowl 50 held at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, CA.  Her vast field experience has allowed her to effectively serve as incident commander during a variety of other high-profile events including the Department’s response to COVID-19, civil unrest, and wildfires.  Commissioner Ray has held every rank within the CHP.

Ray told The OBSERVER in 2020 that the rise to Commissioner was the pinnacle of her career. “To be able to hold this spot and work with the 11,000 women and men in this department that’s as good as it gets,” she said.

Deputy Commissioner Sean Duryee will serve as the Acting Commissioner starting December 31.