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Kara Riley appointed as next Oro Valley Chief of Police

Kara Riley

At the February 5, 2020 Town Council meeting, the Oro Valley Town Council voted to appoint Kara M. Riley to be Oro Valley’s Chief of Police, effective February 22, 2020. Ms. Riley will succeed Chief Daniel G. Sharp who retires on February 21, after 20 years of service with the Town of Oro Valley and 40 years of service in law enforcement. During the meeting, Mayor and Council each took time to praise Kara Riley, the quality of her character and her leadership abilities.

February 7, 2020

“I believe this is the most important decision that this Council will make, and I believe this Council has made the right decision, and I have appreciated working with the Council throughout this process. I am so grateful for Commander Riley’s faithful and dedicated service. She has prepared for this moment, and we are proud to name her as the next chief of police,” said Mayor Joe Winfield.

With several dozen public safety officers in attendance, along with family and friends, Riley addressed the Council after her appointment. “I would like to thank the Mayor and Council for their vote of support. I’m profoundly honored to have been selected as your next chief of police and to lead one of the finest police departments in the nation. To Chief Danny Sharp, you are the epitome of what a genuine law enforcement professional is.”

Mayor Winfield also commented on Chief Sharp, saying “I’d like to thank our police chief, Danny Sharp. To his credit, of the 70 applicants we had, three of the internal candidates from OVPD were in the top 10. I think that speaks significantly to Chief Sharp and his leadership and mentoring.”

Riley has served as commander with the Oro Valley Police Department since 2017, and currently oversees field services. She has been employed with the department since 2004, and has held multiple positions including executive officer, patrol lieutenant and support services lieutenant.

Kara Riley Bio
Kara M. Riley has been a police officer since February 1992. Prior to that, she worked in the corrections field – at adult and juvenile jails – for five years. From 1993 to 2004, she was a police officer and sergeant with the Tucson Airport Authority. In 2004, she started her career at the Oro Valley Police Department.


Kara is currently a commander with the Oro Valley Police Department, a position she has held for more than three years. Her current responsibility is Field Services Division for patrol, motors, K-9, SWAT, Negotiations, and the Community Action Team. She also oversaw the Support Services Division, which is responsible for criminal investigations, community resources, public safety telecommunicators, fleet, IT, records unit and task forces officers. In the past, she has served as the chief’s executive officer. The executive officer oversees professional development and training, the office of professional standards and the public information officer.


Kara holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in sociology and a master’s degree in education. In September 2015, she graduated from class 261 at the FBI National Academy, and in 2012, from Northwestern University Police Staff and Command School. She is an active member of the FBI National Academy Associates Arizona Chapter, member of the International Association Chiefs of Police and a member of the National Public Information Officers Association.


Riley had the opportunity to spend her childhood overseas in Taiwan, Abu Dhabi and Sudan, Africa. Her father is a retired professor from the University of Arizona in the field of environmental studies. She is a mother to an 18 year-old daughter and aunt to six nieces and nephews.