A 22-year veteran of the Santa Rosa Police Department will lead the force following the retirement of Police Chief Tom Schwedhelm next week.

Capt. Hank Schreeder will serve as Acting Police Chief starting Dec. 21, City Manager Kathy Millison said Thursday.

Schreeder grew up in Martinez and began his law enforcement career in Southern California at the Fullerton Police Department. Since he was hired by the Santa Rosa Police Department in 1991, Schreeder has held positions throughout the department, from the traffic and SWAT divisions to the domestic violence and sexual assault unit.

Schreeder was a sergeant leading the gang crimes team in 2001 when a surge of gang violence set in motion an effort that eventually became the Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force.

Schreeder was promoted to lieutenant in 2006 and has served as a captain since 2009.

Schwedhelm retires Dec. 20 after 31 years with the department. Millison said she expects the city to begin soliciting applications for a permanent chief in January.

Schreeder said he will apply for the permanent post. The chief oversees a department of about 252 employees, including 177 sworn officers, with an annual budget of about $42.3 million.

"I want to take what we built over the last five years under Tom and take it to the next level," said Schreeder, who lives in Santa Rosa with his wife and has two grown sons.

Schreeder said the potential annexation of Roseland, the SMART train and the city's overall growth are just some of the issues he would address as police chief.