Palm Springs Police Department Capt. Melissa Desmarais has been named Acting Chief, effective Thursday, Aug. 19, following the departure of Police Chief Bryan Reyes who is retiring after 27 years with the department, City Manager Justin Clifton announced today.
“We are fortunate to have a great leader with a proven track record in Captain Desmarais that can step up to serve as Acting Chief while we remain in the recruitment phase for a permanent replacement to Chief Reyes,” Clifton said. “I’m confident that the police team and the broader community are in good hands with Desmarais in this role.”
Desmarais began her law enforcement career with the Palm Springs Police Department in 2002, and since then has served as Patrol Officer, Airport Law Enforcement Officer, Patrol Field Training Officer, Traffic Field Training Officer and was the first female in the department’s history to become a Motor Officer. In July 2010, Desmarais was promoted to Police Sergeant, the department’s first female sergeant. She worked as patrol sergeant and supervised the Traffic Division.
She made department history again in August 2015 when she was promoted to Police Lieutenant and supervised the Downtown Community Resource Officers. As a lieutenant, she also served as the department’s liaison to Organized Neighborhoods of Palm Springs (ONE-PS). Desmarais was promoted to Police Captain on June 24, 2018 and currently oversees the department’s Support Services Division.
In 2012, while Desmarais was a sergeant, she received the Athena Award, a prestigious community service award presented by the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce. In 2007 Desmarais was awarded the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce’s Peace Officers and Public Safety “Service to Youth Award” for her work with the Palm Springs Police Explorer Program. She was also selected by her peers as 2007 “Officer of the Year.”
“I am honored to have the opportunity to represent the men and women of the Palm Springs Police Department and look forward to working collaboratively with the community and City during this period of transition,” Desmarais said.