WASHINGTON - Assistant Minneapolis Police Chief Sharon Lubinski, one of the nation's top-ranking female law enforcement officers, has been recommended to be the next U.S. marshal in Minnesota.

A 30-year veteran of law enforcement, Lubinski got the nod Monday from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., whose recommendation goes to the White House. Lubinski's expected nomination by President Obama is subject to review by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which includes Klobuchar.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Lubinski, 56, would become the state's first female U.S. marshal and one of only two women in the nation currently serving as U.S. marshals - the other being Christina Pharo in southern Florida.

Until now, there have been a total of 12 female U.S. marshals, who serve as the chief enforcement officers in the federal courts, providing security for court officials, apprehending fugitives, and protecting federal witnesses.

"I am honored and deeply humbled," Lubinski said in an interview. Facing the Senate confirmation process, Lubinski said she is very limited in what she can say publicly.

Lubinski has risen through the Minneapolis police ranks since joining the force in 1987. Openly gay, she has been well-regarded in City Hall and was a finalist for the Minneapolis police chief job in 2004.

Lubinski's selection was spearheaded by retired Bloomington and Minneapolis Police Chief John Laux, who chaired an interview committee for Klobuchar.

"We conducted interviews with many highly qualified candidates," said Laux, who promoted Lubinski's career when he was Minneapolis' top cop. "It reaffirmed my belief that Minnesota has among the very finest law enforcement leaders in the country."

As assistant chief, Lubinski is responsible for the daily operations of the department and its $134 million annual budget. Police Chief Tim Dolan called her an "absolutely essential leader" who can "get things done and deliver results."

Lubinski started as a Minneapolis patrol officer, coming from the Dane County Sheriff's Office in Wisconsin, where she had been a deputy. In Minneapolis, she rose to precinct commander before becoming an assistant chief in 2006.

Last year, she was a member of the Minneapolis police planning team for the Republican National Convention. She was also a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force from 2004 to 2006.

In selecting Lubinski, Klobuchar cited her mix of experience in a large, urban police department and a rural sheriff's office. Klobuchar also harkened back to her own eight years as Hennepin County attorney, a time when she and Lubinski worked together on an "almost daily" basis. Said Klobuchar: "I observed firsthand the strength of her leadership abilities and the respect she commands from people at every level of law enforcement and in the larger community."

If confirmed, Lubinski would replace current U.S. Marshal Michael McGinn, a former St. Paul police commander who was recommended for the position in 2007 by then-U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn.

Kevin Diaz • 202-408-2753