BERKELEY, Calif. (BCN) — The former interim head of the U.S. Capitol Police will be the new chief of police for the University of California at Berkeley, campus officials announced Monday.

Yogananda Pittman will take charge on Feb. 1, 2023, and is replacing Margo Bennett, who is retiring, according to UC Berkeley officials. Pittman held several positions in the Capitol Police Department during the course of her 21 years there and was one of the first two African American women to earn a promotion to captain.

She served as interim chief for six months following the violent Jan. 6 insurrection. “In that post, she became a focal point for critics and reform advocates, but implemented changes designed to improve security, support officers traumatized by the riot and strengthen relationships across the U.S. Capitol community,” UC Berkeley officials said in a news release Monday.

At Berkeley, Pittman will help implement campus security reforms designed to improve emergency management, mental health crisis response and “strengthen relations with diverse communities,” officials said. She said she will spend the first 100 days on the job meeting with various groups to get a better understanding of their concerns.

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“To achieve change, it helps to have leaders who have deep professional experience, but who also know the perspective of people who have been on the receiving end of unfortunate encounters with law enforcement,” Pittman said.

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