by Photo courtesy of the Port of San Diego

A Latina will head the San Diego Harbor Police as Chief for the first time in the department's history. 

Port of San Diego officials swore in Magda Fernandez, a 21-year veteran of the bay-area law enforcement agency, to its top post on May 19 during a ceremony at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier. Also promoted during the event was 20-year department member Jeffrey Geary, whom Fernandez had tapped to serve as her assistant chief.

“Chief Fernandez and Assistant Chief Geary are committed to community policing and public safety on our bayfront and throughout the region,'' San Diego Port President and CEO Joe Stuyvesant said. "Their diverse and broad experience, training, and skill sets will serve them well in their new roles, and we look forward to the continued excellence and evolution of the Harbor Police Department with them at the helm.''

Since early February, Fernandez served as acting chief and was acting assistant chief from November 2021 to February 2022. Over the years, she led various department units, including investigations and intelligence, professional standards, training, patrol, and administrative sections, according to a biography supplied by the department.

She has also represented Harbor Police as a detective on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and helped establish the department’s Terrorism Liaison Officer program, which focuses on educating officers and members of the Port community on being aware of potential terrorism and criminal activities. 

Fernandez served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1994-to 2018 in various roles, including as a criminal investigator and as an environmental and marine casualty investigator. Before her time at the Coast Guard and Harbor Police, she was an emergency medical technician and a rescue diver with the Santa Cruz Search and Rescue Team. 

Geary most recently has overseen Harbor Police administrative operations, including criminal investigations, internal affairs, homeland security, training, communications, special events, and special teams, including the dive team.

He is also currently an instructor for law enforcement vessel and dive operations, marine firefighting, and HazMat and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosives (CBRNE) response. 

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