Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Capt. Alana Forrest, 49, is retiring from her second-in-command position effective Saturday, Feb. 18. Her last day of work will be Thursday, Feb. 16.
News of her retirement was announced during last October's police recognition luncheon and was received with sadness by friends and admirers of the energetic and kind woman officer, who's the most senior captain in the
Although she held an equal rank to Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Capt. David Gravel, Police Chief Scott Seaman considered her an important leader in his department bringing him valuable perspective in the day-to-day operations of the law-enforcement agency.
During the Jan. 16 Los Gatos Town Council meeting, Chief Seaman introduced Matt Frisby as the department's newest captain. He said his promotion will fill the vacancy created by her retirement, although Capt. Gravel is now the most senior and will assume command of the Support Services Division which Capt. Forrest has most recently commanded. Captain Frisby will assume command of the Operations Division.
Forrest said she would be going into the private sector to offer high-end security services after her retirement and said the departure was bittersweet since she will miss her colleagues, but is looking forward to the next step in her career.
In November of 2011, she received the prestigious "Trail Blazer" award from the California Police Officers' Association for advancing the role of women in law enforcement.
The statewide award, the first issued by the organization, recognized a woman in law enforcement who has demonstrated outstanding achievement during her career, thus enhancing the visibility and stature of women police officers.
Forrest is an original creator and leader of the statewide Women Leaders symposium, which drew nearly 600 women and men in law enforcement last fall for leadership and professional training.
Forrest has served as a police officer for 28 years. She began her career at the age of 21 in the Palo Alto Police Department and rose to the rank of lieutenant. In 2000, she was promoted to captain in the
Forrest has worked a variety of assignments including patrol, detectives, special operations, and personnel and training. She holds a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, and serves on the board of directors at the YWCA-Silicon Valley.
She has also worked on law enforcement initiatives related to domestic violence and victims' rights. She's the recipient of the 2008 YWCA Silicon Valley Tribute to Women Award and the 2010 Len Edwards Champion of Peace Award. She serves on the faculty of the International Association of Chiefs of Police Leadership Institute on Violence Against Women.
Forrest's nearly three-decades long law enforcement career is quite a feat considering that, according to www.policeemployment.com, in many smaller police departments, women still hold less than 10 percent of law enforcement positions. That number drops even lower to one-two percent as women move up the ranks to lieutenant, captain or chief.
In 2003, Forrest made history by becoming the police department’s first female SWAT commander.
praised Forrest for leaving a strong legacy in Los Gatos and throughout the law enforcement profession.
"With more than a third of her law enforcement career serving the Los Gatos community, her impact has been immense," Chief Seaman said.
"Through her leadership and innovation, the department has instituted best practices in many areas, but specifically domestic violence and victim rights," he added.
As a graduate of the first International Institute for Violence Against Women and a member of an international committee on victim rights, she started a unique Victim Services Unit, entirely staffed by volunteers who contact every victim of crime to provide services, Chief Seaman expanded.
Her operational skills have shaped the LGMSPD's partnership with Campbell PD for a joint SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team, he added.
She also led the investigation of both the Jeanine Harms and Mark Achilli homicides, he noted.
The town's massage ordinance would not have been created without her initiative and close guidance and she also served outside the department as interim department manager of the town clerk's office upon a special invitation by the town manager, according to the chief.
Within the town and department, Captain Forrest helped create programs to develop and mentor new leaders, establish safety programs, develop first-rate policies and regional protocols and manage years of budget challenges, the chief continued.
"Her drive, professionalism, leadership, high competence and commitment to the residents of Los Gatos and our region have directly contributed to the department's strengths and reputation," he said. "She is a true 'cop' and just within the past weeks participated in capturing car and residential burglars, alongside her officers. While she will be missed by those she has led, the body of her work will stand for years and will serve to guide us all. We wish her the best in her future endeavors."