Healdsburg's police chief, who is due to retire at the end of the month, will then become interim chief in Cotati, it was announced Thursday.

Susan Jones, chief for nine years in Healdsburg, is expected to take the helm in Cotati July 12 and remain there for about six months, City Manager Dianne Thompson said.

She will oversee a department with a budget of $2.6 million and nine sworn officers and will also play a key role in the search for a new, permanent chief, Thompson said.

"With her talent, experience and organizational contacts, she'll help in the search for a new chief, which will result in an excellent candidate and costs savings for the city," said Cotati Councilman Mark Landman.

Jones, 53, was the first female police chief in Sonoma County and the fifth in the state.

Mayor Robert Coleman-Senghor said she "brings with her years of experience and a commitment to what the citizens of Cotati value most in a police force: neighborhood policing."

Cotati's former police chief, Robert Stewart, retired in November and has been serving as a consultant since then.

Jones will earn what Stewart did as a consultant, $65 an hour without benefits. If she serves out her expected six months, that would amount to about $62,000. In retirement, under the terms of her pension, she will also receive 90 percent of the $150,000 salary she was earning as Healdsburg's chief.