Rachel Tolber named Chief of Police, effective June 12

Official photo of newly appointed Police Chief Rachel Tolber

Redlands City Manager Charles Duggan has named Rachel Tolber the new Chief of Police for the Redlands Police Department. Tolber’s appointment will become effective Monday, June 12.

Tolber was named interim chief following the March 1 announcement that Chief Chris Catren would retire due to disability as the result of a work-related back injury. Catren’s retirement will become official on June 9.

“Rachel Tolber continues to exceed expectations as interim police chief,” Duggan said, in announcing the appointment. “I have closely watched her work since being appointed interim chief, and I am impressed by her leadership qualities, dedication to the City, excellent decision making and her communication skills. Rachel possesses all of the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to succeed as our next police chief.”

“I am truly humbled and honored to be selected to the lead the men and women of the RPD in our service of such an incredible community,” Tolber said. “I’m very fortunate to be part of this community and look forward to continuing to provide public safety and building meaningful relationships with all of our community partners, while providing the highest level of service to the residents of Redlands.”

Tolber began her law enforcement career as a student intern with the Redlands Police Department in 1997, performing as a research assistant. In 1998, the department hired her as a police officer.

Prior to her appointment as interim chief, she served as a commander overseeing the Special Services Bureau. She has served the department in a variety of positions, including field training officer, patrol officer and supervisor, detective, investigations supervisor, crisis negotiator, training manager and professional standards.

During her tenure with RPD, she was instrumental in developing and implementing the Police and Corrections Team (PACT), a re-entry program for parolees. She also spearheaded the department’s Citizen Volunteer Park Rangers program. Tolber also served as an executive intern to the City Manager’s office, where she helped lead policy and strategic initiatives adopted and implemented by City executives. She has received civic recognitions and honors for her leadership, work and service.

Tolber earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from the University of Redlands in 1998. In 2006, she earned a master’s degree in criminology, law and society from the University of California, Irvine. Her research was focused on re-entry. In 2011, she earned a master’s degree in applied criminology from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Her focus there was on restorative justice. Most recently she completed the California POST Command College, a rigorous program focused on futures research and strategic foresight. Her research in the program culminated in an article on data and policing, which was published in the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s (IACP) Police Chief Magazine.   

Tolber’s law enforcement background includes extensive collaboration and work with numerous local, state, federal and international policing agencies and community partners. In addition, she worked with the department’s criminologist and other academic partners on various research projects and grants. Her research interests include re-entry, restorative justice, technology and women in policing.

She has been a board member of the Home Again Project, Gang Reduction Intervention Team, and Partners Against Violence. She has been an executive fellow with the National Policing Institute (formerly known as the Police Foundation) and a member of the Society of Evidence-Based Policing and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. She graduated from the National Institute of Justice’s LEADS Scholar program in 2019 and continues to be active as an alumna. Tolber is a member of the Redlands Sunrise Rotary and serves on the steering committee for Redlands Compact Club.

Based on her interest and commitment to evidence-based policing, Tolber joined several other colleagues in founding the American Society of Evidence-Based Policing (ASEBP). The ASEBP mission is to advance policing by incorporating the best available evidence-based practices to ensure the least harmful, most effective, fairest, and safest strategies are employed to prevent crime, reduce harm and improve community wellness.