SAN JOSE (KCBS) — San Jose police officers have been leaving in droves since the passage of the pension reform measure earlier this year. Now the force will suffer the loss of another member of its command staff.

San Jose Assistant Police Chief Rikki Goede has accepted the top job at the Piedmont Police Department, officials from both cities announced Tuesday afternoon.

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According to the San Jose Police Department, Goede is leaving after 16 years at the department to accept a conditional job offer as Piedmont police chief that begins in January.

Piedmont city officials said Goede was chosen unanimously by the City Council from a field of 51 candidates.

Goede’s appointment will be formally made at a Jan. 7 City Council meeting.

Goede, who joined the San Jose police force in 1996, was appointed assistant chief in August 2011 by Chief Chris Moore.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Goede said, “It’s with a heavy heart that I leave the San Jose Police Department…I was lucky enough to work alongside some of the best cops in the country. I’m excited to have the opportunity to lead a professional department like Piedmont’s.”

Goede started her law enforcement career in San Diego before working in San Jose. She attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D.

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Goede’s departure comes as the department also looks for a replacement for Moore, who is retiring from the department in January.

Police Union President Jim Unland said it isn’t just departures at the top.

“We’ve had about 30 officers leave in the last two months and we still have more that are looking, more that are in the hiring process with other agencies and I don’t think that the upper command staff stops just at the assistant chief and chief level,” Unland said.

With Goede’s departure, the next chief will most likely be coming from outside the department. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed told KCBS that it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“I think it would be good at this time to bring somebody in from the outside with a fresh perspective,” Reed said. “We’ve had great success in the past with chiefs on the outside like Chief McNamara.”

He added that chiefs from the inside have been a success as well. “We’ll find an excellent chief who wants to come in and manage this great department,” Reed said.

The city manager has said she hopes to have a new police chief hired before Moore leaves at the end of the next month.

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