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Sources said during Tracey's tenure as lieutenant and captain at the Rohnert Park office, several veteran officers and sergeants transferred out, preferring to commute to other CHP jobs, citing stress from a caustic workplace under Tracey's management.

Sources said this is the second time Tracey's management has been investigated by CHP officials. An investigation led to minor disciplinary action while he was a lieutenant, they said.

Tracey later was promoted to captain and assigned to the same office.

The timing of Tracey's departure from the office took many by surprise, sources said.

The day before, Tracey was in uniform and attended the monthly meeting of the Sonoma County Law Enforcement Chiefs Association. He also was slated to be the keynote speaker at the annual Sonoma County Law Enforcement Officer of the Year March 12. Banquet organizers said they were alerted at the last minute that he wasn't available.

Prior to his promotion to captain of the Rohnert Park office, Tracey served there as lieutenant for five years.

Tracey started his law enforcement career at a California State Police officer in July 1983. When the agency, which primarily protected state property, was absorbed by the CHP in 1995, Tracey soon became a CHP sergeant, according to his employment records, McDermott said.

He was promoted to lieutenant in 2001 and then to captain in 2009. Tracey served as lieutenant in the Sonoma County office from 2004 to 2009 and transferred to the communication center in Vallejo.

He returned to the Rohnert Park office as commander in December 2010.

His annual salary as captain is about $168,000.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or randi.rossmann@pressdemocrat.com.