Pasadena Police Cmdr. Marilyn Diaz will take over as chief of the Sierra Madre Police Department in mid-march, becoming one of only a select few female police chiefs to serve in Los Angeles County.

"I’m thrilled for the opportunity to work as the chief," said Diaz. "It’s a wonderful town, and I look forward to the challenge."

As a female chief, the 32-year veteran joins the esteemed ranks of Margaret York, who led the LA County Safety Police and is married to Judge Lance Ito, and Sharon Papa, who led the Metropolitan Transit Authority Police Department.

Diaz, who described her career in Pasadena as "the most wonderful experience," has worked in many different aspects of law enforcement, from vice squads to youth services, and has been a board member of the Rotary Club of Pasadena, Women at Work and El Centro.

Pasadena Police Lt. Mike Korpal will be promoted to commander and take over field operations for the department, said Chief Bernard Melekian.