She's the highest-ranking woman in the Stockton Police Department and only the second woman in the department's history to achieve that rank. Nance was promoted by Chief Eric Jones in a ceremony on Friday.
"Being a woman in this field, it doesn't hold you back unless you let it," she said.
For Nance, it's the culmination of a long and storied career that began nearly 23 years ago with stints in narcotics, gangs and homicides units and a run for Congress.
"I really do like the solving of different cases and seeing how it does help our community in the long run," she said.
The promotion comes after a traumatic year for Nance. Last August, her husband James, a former motorcycle officer in Stockton, was paralyzed in a crash while responding to a call.
Friday, he looked on with joy as his wife reached a career milestone.
"I'm incredibly proud of her. She’s has had a wonderful career," he said. "Her dedication and devotion to this department, and to the city and to the people that live in it, I mean it is fully had to comprehend."
There was an outpouring of Nance's friends, colleagues and family who have been by her side helping lead to her return to duty in December.
"Coming back was actually easy. Everybody pitched in and helped with my job and did things that needed to get done," Nance said.
Despite the hardship in her personal life, her commitment to public service never wavered.
"This promotion is absolutely not mine. It's not. It never would have happened without the support of everyone else, so really this is everybody here’s promotion," Nance said. "This is yours, and I thank you for allowing me to be the one up here accepting it. This promotion belongs to you, Jamie. One hundred percent."