February 26, 2024 / News


February 26, 2024

As we prepare to celebrate Assistant Chief Sandra Albrektsen with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2024 Women in Blue Luncheon, each week we’ll be sharing a story of a female leader at the San Diego Police Department. The “HERstory” campaign is a vibrant tribute to the Honor, Excellence, and Resilience embodied by our women in blue, shedding light on the remarkable women behind the uniform.

How many years have you served the San Diego Police Department?

I’ve been working at SDPD for over 40 years.  I started working here while still in high school, at just 16 years old.

What inspired you to pursue a career in public safety, and how did you rise through the ranks to become an Assistant Chief? 

I was inspired to become an officer while working in Crime Analysis.  Seeing the officer heroes in action changed my life.  I worked my way through all the ranks by trying to be a better version of myself daily.

What do you think women contribute to this male-dominated industry?

Women provide a different perspective to police work through their problem-solving and communication skills.  Every team needs diverse skills to be successful.

Tell us about a time when you were mentored or supported in your career. How has this experience shaped you?

I have been mentored and supported throughout my career by supervisors, co-workers, and friends.  Every interaction is a chance to grow wisdom and perspective.  I have maximized these interactions and used them to make sure I’m fully present in my leadership roles.

How has the Women in Blue Initiative (WLLE scholarships, SDPD’s Annual Women’s Hiring Expo, Women In Blue Luncheon, SDPD’s Quarterly Women’s Leadership Conference, SDPD’s Peer Mentoring Program) impacted you?

Awe, such a beautiful thing!  I love seeing the potential that sometimes WE don’t see while looking in the mirror.  I see myself as a talent finder.  Watching officers take on ‘reach assignments’ has inspired me tremendously and makes me excited for the future!

This year’s theme is HERstory; what does that mean to you?

HERstory…such a great play on words.  When you tell your story it empowers you and those around you.  THIS IS WHO I AM…. I get excited just saying it out loud.  It’s a story of resiliency and knowing your worth.  We must believe in ourselves first, even if those around us don’t see our true value.  This is a powerful lesson…. It’s part one of a novel, the middle and end we write-it can be anything you want it to be.

Now, as you stand at the peak of your career, could you reflect on a particularly challenging or unforgettable moment that left a lasting impact on both you and your professional journey? 

Reflecting on my career- it hasn’t always been rainbows and butterflies. I’ve had challenging assignments and supervisors, but everyone has or will have that situation.  But those are just moments in time and don’t reflect on a whole career.

What are your plans for the future, and how do you hope to stay connected to the law enforcement community and the community at large?

I’m going to take a rest for a few months and reflect.  I’m excited to reinvent myself staying supportive of law enforcement and the military.

Do you have any advice for aspiring women in blue?

My advice to aspiring women in blue would be to focus on showing up for the people you work with and make them your North.  I never doubted the decisions I made putting others’ needs first, this doesn’t always come naturally for all leaders.  The last piece of advice is to stay humble; you won’t know everything…it’s okay.

The 13th annual Women in Blue Luncheon: “HERstory,” honors Assistant Chief Sandra Albrektsen for her remarkable contributions to the Women in Blue Initiative and 41 years of service with the San Diego Police Department. The luncheon brings business and community leaders together to recognize the achievements of female leaders in the public safety sector and to celebrate gender diversity in an occupation traditionally pursued by men. Elevating inclusion, leadership, and the empowerment of women, the initiative propels the advancement and representation of women in policing.