Chief Susan Manheimer


Before being named the “Top Cop” in San Mateo, Chief Manheimer served almost 17 years with the San Francisco Police Department. At SFPD, she worked a variety of assignments to include robbery decoy work and gang and violent-crime suppression. She was both a Lieutenant and Captain of the Tenderloin Task Force, a tough inner-city neighborhood where she assisted in spearheading the first Business Improvement District and Safety Ambassador program for the City and County of San Francisco and was point on homeless and juvenile issues for the SFPD. Under her tenure Manheimer was able to forge a coalition of public/private/CBOs and businesses to “Take Back the Tenderloin” restoring order, reducing blight, and increasing neighborhood safety, building partnerships and engaging the challenged community.

Chief Manheimer was recruited by the City of San Mateo and appointed as their Chief of Police in May of 2000, where she continues her commitment to highly effective Community Policing Partnerships. Under her leadership, with the support of the City of San Mateo and the men and women of the SMPD, many innovative and award winning programs have improved the quality of life in San Mateo. The revitalization of the downtown was enhanced by the highly successful Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) and the Field Crisis Team, which specialize in response to incidents and individuals involved with both homelessness and mental illness. Spearheading an effective effort to reduce Polynesian gang activity, Manheimer enlisted allied agencies, community faith leaders, and elders to form the Tongan Interfaith Council, which assisted in driving down violent crime, particularly in schools and parks. Manheimer was also one of the driving forces behind the long-term highly effective Countywide Gang Task Force and the allied interagency Gang Intelligence Unit, and was their first Commander. She is a leader in San Mateo County’s Local Action Plan to End Homelessness, and the SMPD HOT Team’s successes in ending chronic homelessness in downtown San Mateo have now been replicated throughout San Mateo County. Manheimer has also built upon SMPD’s outstanding community engagement strategy through a robust social media and internet fueled community information system which reaches tens of thousands of direct subscribers community-wide.

Now one of the senior tenured chiefs in the state, Chief Manheimer is focused on building a best-practices agency of excellence and establishing county-wide protocols that produce evidence-based, sustainable solutions that strike at the root of neighborhood safety and quality of life while building legitimacy, trust, and engagement between the police and the communities they serve. Involved at the national, state, and local level, she is a longtime member of the Police Executive Research Forum and is an Executive Fellow at the nationally recognized National Policing Institute. Manheimer was honored to have been selected to participate in the most recent Executive Session on Policing at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Manheimer received a Presidential Appointment to the Office of Violence Against Women Act Re-commissioning, serves on the International Association of Chiefs of Police Juvenile Justice Committee, and is the first woman to have served as President of the California Police Chiefs’ Association and the San Mateo County Chiefs and Sheriffs Association. Manheimer serves as a Governor’s appointee on the State Advisory Group on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, is a county appointee to the Community Corrections partnership, and serves on the Boards of the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center, the University of San Francisco Law Enforcement Leadership Institute, the San Mateo NAACP Executive Board, and the SM Police Activities League.

Manheimer received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Management from Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, where she has taught a popular class on Public Policy, and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from San Diego State University. She is a graduate of the POST Command College prestigious executive training program.

Chief Manheimer resides in San Mateo County and has two adult children, Sarah, an attorney, and Jesse, a Captain in the US Marine Corps. Together with her grandchildren they enjoy skiing, hiking, rowing, and service to their community.