Susan Jones, Healdsburg's retired police chief, is taking over as interim chief in Calistoga for a six-month stint.

Jones will don a uniform again beginning today.

She fills the post left by Calistoga Police Chief Jonathan Mills, who stepped down to act as lieutenant after six years heading the department.

Jones said Calistoga City Manager Richard Spitler, a former Healdsburg planning director, called to let her know he needed an interim chief while he searched for a replacement for Mills.

"I like the City of Calistoga. I think it's a sweet town, and it will be a fun experience," she said.

Jones, 55, retired in 2010 after more than three decades in law enforcement and collects a pension of approximately $150,000 annually.

In Calistoga, she will earn $70 per hour and expects to work between 24 and 40 hours a week. To continue collecting her retirement pay, she said, she cannot work more than 960 hours within a fiscal year.

Jones also worked as interim police chief in Cotati for a six-month stint immediately after retiring from the Healdsburg department.

She was elected to the Healdsburg City Council in November 2010 and now serves as vice mayor.

Jones said her duties in Calistoga are not anticipated to cut into her ability to serve on the City Council or related responsibilities such as being on the economic development committee.

Calistoga, with about 5,500 people, has a population slightly less than half of Healdsburg's, but is also a tourist destination.

"They do have their share of property crime and some persons crimes," Jones said. "I don't have a full grasp of gang issues, but I know they have some. Everyone does."

The Calistoga Police Department had tense labor negotiations last summer, according to the Weekly Calistogan.

Jones said such problems come with the job.nsions," she said. "You will find that pretty much everywhere."

You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214

or clark.mason