The CHP is led by the Commissioner, who is appointed by the Governor of California. The Deputy Commissioner is also appointed by the Governor and the Assistant Commissioners are appointed by the Commissioner.
Although the Commissioner was never named (Getraer refers to him as "the Commissioner") in any episode of "CHiPs", Glen B. Craig was thanked in the credits for each episode, except for "Return of the Brat Patrol", in which his successor, James E. Smith, was thanked. In "Death Watch", the only episode where the CHP Commissioner appeared, he was portrayed by actor Frank Parker.
- Eugene W. Biscailuz, 1929 – 1931
- Eugene was an under-sheriff for Los Angeles County when named the first superintendent (as the position was then called), receiving a salary of $7,200/year.
- E. Raymond Cato, 1931 – 1947
- Appointed chief (as it was then called) in 1931. He came from the Los Angeles Police Department.
- Clifford E. Peterson, 1947 – 1953
- The first to hold the title of commissioner.
- Bernard R. Caldwell, 1953 – 1959
- Bradford M. Crittenden, 1959 – 1967
- Harold W. Sullivan, 1967 – 1972
- Walter Pudinski, 1972 – 1974
- The first commissioner to rise through CHP ranks to take over the top post.
- Dante Lanza, 1974
- Appointed by Governor Ronald Reagan just as Governor Jerry Brown took office.
- Glendon B. Craig, 1975 – 1983
- James E. Smith, 1983 – 1985
- Maurice Hannigan, 1989 – 1995
- Dwight "Spike" Helmick, 1995 – 2004
- Michael Brown, 2004 – 2008
- Appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- Joseph Farrow, 2008 - Present
- Appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in February 2008.