By Marlee Ginter

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Wearing a sweater and blue jeans, Rosanne Richeal picked up her favorite guitar and started strumming her own tune.  It’s certainly the softer side of Richeal and nothing like the look she wore for decades, in a freshly pressed uniform with a badge and sometimes on a motorcycle.

“It was quite the journey to be honest with you. There were moments where I kind of second-guessed why I was climbing the ranks, why I was doing what I was doing,” Richeal said.

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She has a long impressive resume in law enforcement and community service, first as an EMT, then a patrol officer, a K-9 handler, a motor sergeant and on up to the first female police chief of Rancho Cordova. Believe it or not, that’s not even half of the titles she’s worn.

“It wasn’t easy, but the more I was in the profession, the more I felt compelled to do better, to be better and to help more people. So as I climbed the ranks, I was able to help more people and help them and pay it forward,” said Richeal.

While Richeal admits it ‘wasn’t easy,’ nothing stopped her, not even pushback for being a female in a predominately male career field could keep her from pushing forward.

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“I have encountered some discrimination along the way. But again, look where I ended up. Right? Don’t tell me no. I’ll turn that no into a yes,” Richeal said.

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Richeal credits her drive to the environment she grew up in with parents who were strong role models for her and her brother.

“My Dad would say ‘keep your head low and just keep going and do a great job’ and my Mom would always tell us ‘things don’t come for free. You’ve got to bust your butt to get ahead.'”

And she took her Mom’s words to heart and ‘busted her butt.’ After making it as the first female police chief in Rancho Cordova in 2012, she wasn’t done.

Two years later, she became a Chief Deputy in the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, she later published a book on leadership and in “retirement,” she started a leadership development business.  She also records a bi-weekly podcast on leadership and in 2018 Richeal came out of retirement to work at the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training and is now one of the bureau chiefs.

Richeal holds quite the accomplishments, but as CBS’ new show ‘Tommy’ portrays, in the story of a former high-ranking NYPD officer who becomes the first female chief of police for Los Angeles; it all comes at a cost.

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“I can’t tell you how many Christmases I missed or how many Thanksgivings I missed or how many events I missed, or outings with my friends,” Richeal said, also admitting she doesn’t regret it. “I don’t. I don’t because I was doing what I loved.”