Susan Manheimer recalls looking at the portraits on the wall of the numerous police chiefs who preceded her as top cop of the San Mateo Police Department when she was named to the post in May 2000. 

Her smiling picture, in bright color, stood out from the black-and-white portraits of sober-faced male ex-police chiefs.

Someone suggested that a nameplate below her picture be put up to read, “The First Female Police Chief in the History of San Mateo.”

Manheimer thought about it for a second.

“Um,” she said. “I don’t think that’s really necessary. It’s pretty obvious!”

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