Finding and cultivating
great police leaders is all we do.

We are a premier, boutique-style, national search firm focused solely on recruiting top police executives for our clients.



Our team includes former police chiefs who have more than 60 years of combined public sector leadership and recruiting experience.

Our extensive national network of police leaders helps us to identify highly qualified candidates. This network includes our affiliation with associations that seek to advance police executives from traditionally underrepresented groups.

Public Sector Search & Consulting believes the police executive search process should be inclusive and transparent. In every project, we provide our clients with many options and a framework to incorporate stakeholders (the community, clergy, employee, and advocacy groups) into their search.

Boutique-Style Approach, Personalized Service

We're different from other recruiting firms because we offer a more personalized approach.

At PSSC, we purposefully limit the number of searches we undertake to ensure each client receives outstanding customer service. Our recruiter is your sole point of contact and will lead the search from start to finish. We have fewer management layers and open and direct communications, which helps us streamline your search.

Our leadership team includes seasoned professionals—industry experts
with the ideal blend of public- and private-sector experience.

Gary Peterson

Founder, President & CEO

Founder, President & CEO Gary Peterson had a 26 year career in the public sector serving as an appointed Chief of Police for the City of Martinez in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was known for his strong leadership and commitment to community engagement and collaboration. After retiring from law enforcement, Gary worked at a mid-sized consulting firm where he focused on expanding the firm’s public safety practice. With an eye toward improving the traditional police chief search process, Gary co-founded PSSC and implemented strategies resulting in a more inclusive search and selection process. 

Gary’s experience managing search projects and recruiting Police Chiefs is vast, and his national network of potential candidates is deep. He has directed numerous police chief searches for major cities, mid-sized and smaller cities, as well as top universities and community colleges. 

Education and Training

Juris Doctor 
John F. Kennedy University, School of Law,
Orinda, CA

Master of Science, Criminal Justice
California State University
Sacramento, CA

Bachelor of Arts, Sociology 
University of California
Riverside, CA

FBI National Academy Class #247
Senior Management Institute for Police
Boston, MA (SMIP)

Trish Peterson

Executive Vice President-Operations

Trish Peterson has 20 years of experience as a practicing attorney in both the public and private sector. She is a former trial attorney with a San Francisco Bay Area District Attorney’s Office. Before co-founding PSSC, she maintained a law practice in Solano County. 

Trish is a current member of the California State Bar and a certified background investigator. Trish serves as corporate counsel, and manages business operations, contracts, and client relations.

Education and Training

Juris Doctor 
California Western, School of Law 
San Diego, CA

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI)
National Institute, 2014

POST Certified Background Investigator

Mark Helms

Senior Consultant

Mark Helms (Chief of Police, Ret.) is an accomplished Northern California law enforcement leader with more than 30 years of diverse experience in policing, government, and public sector recruiting. Mark is a senior recruiter and consultant to municipalities, universities, and community colleges on a variety of public safety organization issues.

Before joining PSSC, Mark served as Chief of Police in the City of Lodi, California. As Chief, he developed a talented leadership team and worked to improve the policing profession as a member of the Board of Directors for the California Police Chiefs Association. Mark was also President of the Central Sierra Police Chiefs Association and is currently an Executive Fellow with the National Police Foundation.

He spent most of his professional career with the Stockton Police Department, having attained the rank of Deputy Chief. He gained experience managing every major area of the 650-member organization. 

Education and Training

Master of Public Administration
California State University
Stanislaus, CA

Bachelor of Arts, Management
St. Mary’s College of California
Moraga, CA

FBI National Academy Class #221
CA POST Law Enforcement Command College

Our track record speaks
for itself.

We have conducted national police chief searches for cities, towns, universities, and community colleges. Our recruiters have led the following searches over the past several years:


  • Bellevue, WA
    Assistant Chief
  • Northglenn, CO
    Deputy Chief
  • Tiburon, CA
  • Opa-Locka, FL
  • San Jose, CA
  • San Luis Obispo, CA
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Pensacola, FL
  • Lancaster, PA
  • Lacey, WA
  • Raleigh, NC


  • Dallas, TX
  • Nashville, TN
  • Beacon, NY
  • Wheat Ridge, CO
  • Boulder, CO
  • Thornton, CO
  • Sonoma State University, CA
  • Mott Community College, MI


  • Yakima, WA 
  • Redmond, WA  
  • Payson, AZ 
  • Grand Rapids, MI 


  • Seattle, WA  
  • Seaside, CA 
  • Albany, NY 
  • Syracuse, NY 
  • University at Buffalo (SUNY) 
  • Rohnert Park, CA 
    Director of Public Safety


  • Sacramento, CA 
  • San Francisco, CA 
  • UCLA 
  • Fairfield, CA 
  • UC Davis 
  • Kansas City, MO 
  • Dallas, TX 
  • Los Rios Community College, CA 


  • UC San Francisco 
  • Shafter, CA 
Chief of Police

Working with a true professional such as Gary gave me confidence in the entire hiring process. Gary was able to convey information promptly and accurately, and his overall demeanor helped me excel in my presentation. Gary brought out the best I could give.

Chief of Police
City of Kansas City, MO
Rick Smith
Bill Scott Chief of Police

Had it not been for Gary Peterson recruiting me for the position of Chief of Police for the San Francisco Police Department, I would not have applied. I found Gary to be a very professional, open, and honest executive recruiter. Additionally, he maintained outstanding communication with me throughout the application process.

Chief of Police
City & County of San Francisco
Bill Scott

Begin Your Police Chief Search