LAW ENFORCEMENT – New Manhattan Beach Police Department chief is named 

MBPD Chief Rachel Johnson starts work August 8. 

The City of Manhattan Beach Tuesday announced the selection of Rachel Johnson as the new chief of the Manhattan Beach Police Department.  

Johnson is a 21-year police veteran who has served almost 17 years with the Newport Beach Police Department, including the last two-and-a-half years as captain.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve as the police chief for the City of Manhattan Beach,” said Johnson in a statement. “I look forward to working together with the Police Department’s sworn and professional staff, City leaders, and the community to continue the Manhattan Beach Police Department’s legacy of excellent service, with a focus on crime prevention, quality of life, and fostering relationships. I’m delighted to work in such a vibrant and engaged community, and to work together to keep our City safe.” 

Johnson is a United States Marine Corps veteran, and served from 1997 to 2001 as an Air Control Electronics Operator. During her military service, she was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa, Japan, and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego 

In 2001, Johnson began her career in law enforcement at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department before lateralling to the Newport Beach Police Department in 2005. During her tenure in Newport Beach, she worked a wide variety of assignments. She served as a field training officer until 2012 when she was promoted to sergeant, supervising the traffic division, special events, and major accident investigations. In 2017, she was promoted to lieutenant, overseeing jail operations, the mounted unit, and the Explorer program.

Since 2020, Johnson has served as a police captain for the Laguna Beach Police Department, overseeing both the support and investigative services and field services divisions. She was also assigned to oversee the City’s COVID-19 response in the Emergency Operations Center during the height of the pandemic.  

Johnson was awarded the Lifesaving Medal in 2014 for conducting CPR on a person who crashed his car following a heart attack. In addition, she is a graduate of Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute, the International Association of Chiefs of Police Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI), and the California POST Executive Development Course. She has associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees with areas of study in Management and Administration of Justice. 

“The men and women of the Manhattan Beach Police Department provide exemplary services, and take great pride to ensure the safety of Manhattan Beach so that residents and visitors alike can enjoy the quality of life that Manhattan Beach has to offer,” said City Manager Bruce Moe. “With her community-oriented and proactive policing approach, I’m confident that Johnson is the right person to lead the Manhattan Beach Police Department, and keep our residents safe. Johnson is a highly respected leader who will serve our community well.”

“We look forward to welcoming Chief Johnson, and supporting her in serving the Manhattan Beach community that we all love,” said Manhattan Beach Police Officers’ Association President Dan Brandt.

Johnson was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She is an avid runner, hiker, and cyclist. In her free time, Johnson enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering for the First Battalion, First Marines Foundation, and Leadership Tomorrow, Orange County

Johnson’s first day on the job will be August 8. She will succeed Police Chief Derrick Abell, who retired in December 2021, and has been serving as interim Police Chief during the executive search. ER 


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