All of the Valley Voice’s thoughts and prayers were with former Visalia police chief Colleen Mestas as she underwent breast cancer surgery on March 3. The cancer was detected in late December during a routine mammogram. Mestas bought a retirement home close to her daughter in Simi Valley and opted to have her surgery in nearby Newport Beach. The first mammogram only detected one spot, but a further test detected two on her left side. Mestas also consulted with a plastic surgeon, and both surgeries took place on Tuesday.
Mestas’ diagnosis came several months before she intended on retiring. Her plan was to retire at the end of this year, after her 50th birthday. She and her husband, retired Hanford police chief Carlos Mestas, were leasing a house in Visalia and had planned to let the lease run out and permanently move to Simi Valley. The breast cancer diagnosis prompted her to announce her retirement on January 23, a few months early.
Mestas started her law enforcement career as an Explorer for the Clovis Police Department. She then served as a Clovis Police Aide, a Clovis Dispatcher, and eventually a Fresno County Sheriff Reserve Officer prior to being hired as a full time deputy in 1988. Mestas started out her law enforcement career in Visalia as an assistant chief and was promoted to police chief in 2009.
Mestas has collected an impressive array of degrees along the way. According to an online biography written by the Fig Garden Home Owners Association, she holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco and a Masters degree in Organizational Behavior from The California School of Professional Psychology. Mestas is also a graduate of the prestigious Senior Management Institute for Law Enforcement taught by Harvard University Scholars based in Boston, Massachusetts. While a deputy in Fresno, Mestas graduated from the Marion Bergeson series in public service and received certification from the Josephson Institute on ethics in law enforcement and police administration.
Mestas said she will be updating her Facebook for any and all well wishers.