"Career cop" Karen Webb will become the first woman to become NSW police commissioner, replacing Mick Fuller when he retires next year.
Premier Dominic Perrottet announced Ms Webb would take on the role in April.
"This is an important role, not just in leading the 17,000 members of the NSW Police Force, but importantly ensuring the safety of the eight million people across our state," he said on Wednesday.
"There are probably no more important appointments that we can make.
"I believe Deputy Commissioner Webb has the honesty, the integrity and the drive to lead the NSW Police Force at this challenging time."
Mr Perrottet stressed Ms Webb was appointed because of "her talent and her leadership skills" rather than her gender.
However, he hoped she inspired more young women to join the police.
Mr Fuller will end his more than three-decade career in the NSW Police Force following a five-year stint as commissioner after taking over from Andrew Scipione in 2017.
Ms Webb has also had a storied career with the NSW police, first joining the Castle Hill police station in 1987 when 90 per cent of her colleagues were men.
Since then she has led high-level police projects, commanded large-scale operations and strategies, and is a director on the board of NSW Police Legacy.
She has served as a commander and assistant commissioner, becoming deputy commissioner in July.
Ms Webb described herself as a "career cop", telling reporters she was humbled to take on the role and looking forward to transitioning the force out of its pandemic footing.
"Post the pandemic it'll be time for the police to return to our more traditional role where we safeguard the community," she said.
"It's time for everyone to return to our normal lives, certainly for the police that is to re-engage with our communities and understand what the community expects of us."
Ms Webb edged out popular candidates including Deputy Commissioner Mick Willing, a former Homicide Squad commander who led the state's bushfire recovery response, and Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon.
Mr Fuller said he was "incredibly pleased" Ms Webb would replace him, citing her 34 years of service and adding the future of the NSW Police Force was in good hands.
"It was the depth and diversity of her experience which led me to promote her twice during my tenure - from superintendent to assistant commissioner in 2017 and again to her current role as deputy commissioner," he said.
The Police Association of NSW called the "historic first" appointment "a forward-thinking decision".
"We have been championing an increase in the diversity of police appointees and commend this historic appointment," the association said.
The appointment received bipartisan support, with NSW Labor leader Chris Minns hailing Ms Webb as "exceptionally well credentialed".
"The appointment of our state's first female commissioner is an historic moment to be celebrated, although frankly overdue," he said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.