Jacqueline Seabrooks will be returning to her police roots soon, after being named chief of the Santa Monica Police Department.

Seabrooks, 50, spent 25 years with the Santa Monica department, rising to the rank of captain before being named as Inglewood’s police chief in October 2007. She is the first woman to hold both chief positions.

Seabrooks will begin her new duties in May, succeeding Timothy J. Jackman, who retired.

Seabrooks was appointed by City Manager Rod Gould after a three-month nationwide search. There were four other finalists, who performed six exercises designed to replicate the challenges a Santa Monica police chief would face.

The exercises were scored by members of the department and public.

Seabrooks and a second finalist, whose name was not released, then underwent additional interviews with Gould, City Attorney Marsha Jones Moutrie and key staff members.

Seabrooks will manage a department with 443 employees and a budget of more than $70 million, nearly double Inglewood’s police budget. Seabrooks’ annual salary will be $238,752.

Seabrooks’ four and a half years as Inglewood’s police chief “have tested her and proved her mettle,” Gould said.

“While at Inglewood, she has provided great service to that community in stabilizing and improving law enforcement services, despite tremendous external scrutiny and budgetary pressures,” Gould said.

Seabrooks said she was “equally honored, humbled and excited to accept this offer.”

“I am particularly happy to be joining a community that is so involved and leading a police department with great achievements in public safety,” Seabrooks said.

Mayor Richard Bloom called the appointment “a great choice for Santa Monica.”

“She is smart, savvy and experienced and knows Santa Monica,” Bloom said.

“Former Santa Monica Police Chief Jim Butts, who is now the mayor of Inglewood, worked with Seabrooks for 15 years and promoted her to the rank of captain before he left in 2006 to take over as head of security for Los Angeles World Airports,” according to the Santa Monica Daily Press.

“‘She has made great strides in lowering the violent crime rate and she handled a very difficult and challenging situation in the aftermath of several officer-involved shootings, and the training and disciplinary issues that were associated with them,’” Butts told the Daily Press. “‘Everything she has achieved has been well deserved. She did great in the city of Inglewood and will continue to do so when she gets back to Santa Monica.’”

Seabrooks began her law enforcement career as an officer with the California State Police Division when she was 19, one of the state’s youngest officers.

She was born in Los Angeles and has master’s and bachelor’s degrees in public administration from California State University, Long Beach, and California State University, Dominguez Hills.

City News Service contributed to this story