Meet the Chief

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Chief Riley has 30 years of law enforcement experience.

Kara M. Riley has been a police officer since February 1992. Prior to being a police officer, she worked in the corrections field for five years, both at adult and juvenile jails. From 1993 to 2004, she was a police officer and sergeant with the Tucson Airport Authority. In 2004, she started her career with the Oro Valley Police Department. Prior to becoming Chief, she held the rank of Commander. Her responsibilities included the Field Services Division for patrol, motors, K-9, SWAT, Negotiations, and the Community Action Team. She was also responsible for the Support Services Division, which is responsible for criminal investigations, community resources, public safety telecommunicators, fleet, IT, records unit and task force operations. In the past, she served as the Chief’s Executive Officer. The Executive Officer holds the responsibilities of professional development and training, the office of professional standards and the public information officer.

Kara serves on the Board of Directors for Pima County Wireless Integrated Network, Arizona Association Chiefs of Police, Oro Valley Community Leadership Board, Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce, Women Leading Government Marketing Committee, Northwest Women’s Group, and Southern Arizona Women Leading Government. 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.

Kara holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in sociology and a master’s degree in education. She graduated from the FBI National Academy (Class 261) in September 2015, and from Northwestern University Police Staff and Command School in 2012. Kara had the fortunate opportunity to grow up 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 a University of Arizona student and aunt to six nieces and nephews. She enjoys fishing, watching any sport the University of Arizona is playing, CrossFit and spending time with her husband, Joseph Shelley.