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JUNE 10, 2003
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich at 661/664-2456 or

Claudia Fivecoat has been named the new chief of police at California State University, Bakersfield. Fivecoat, 50, replaces Brian Baker, who retired last October. Jack Campbell has been serving as interim chief while the university conducted a search for Baker's replacement.

Fivecoat comes to CSUB after serving nearly 25 years with the Kern County Sheriff's Department where she rose to rank of commander, and headed up the training division as her last assignment before retirement.

The new chief said she's looking forward to the job. "It definitely has lots of new challenges," she said. "The campus is growing, and along with it the department is growing. I'm looking forward to helping the department grow and to keep up with the needs of all the people we serve."

She takes over a department that has grown to 10 officers in the last five years and may add an 11th within a year.

A native of South Lake Tahoe, she earned her bachelor's degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1973, and her teaching credential from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 1974. Right after that she came to Bakersfield thinking she would get a teaching position. She found a tight job market for teachers, so instead landed a job with the county. She continued in that job for 4-1/2 years until joining the Sheriff's Department in June 1979. She was one of the first women hired as a deputy in Kern County, and subsequently became the first woman sergeant, first woman lieutenant and the first woman commander in the Sheriff's Department.

Now she's CSUB's first woman chief.

She said the timing of Baker's retirement and her own retirement from the Sheriff's Department was a fortunate coincidence. She said she was looking for an opportunity such as the one offered by CSUB. "I love Cal State," she said. "I got my master's degree here, and I've worked closely with some of the people here. It all just fell into place."