POA tries to hijack selection of new police chief

By Tim Redmond and Sana Saleem : 48hills – excerpt

Cops want to make sure there’s no reformer hired to oversee the department

The deadline for applications for the job of San Francisco police chief closed Wednesday, and because the process is not exactly open, it’s hard to know how many of the potentially qualified candidates from outside the city decided to apply.

But we know that the mayor has made statements suggesting that he favors the existing acting chief, and the police union is running a paid campaign– and none of that is likely to encourage the kind of outside reformers that the city so badly needs.

The POA began running radio ads last week supporting Chaplin and urging the commissioners and the mayor to give him the permanent job. The ads are stunning in their attempts to say that only a San Francisco police officer, someone who started here (and was, by definition, a member of the POA) should be eligible for the job…

Over the past few weeks, the Police Commission held multiple community “listening” sessions to help understand what community members demand in a new police chief…

At the St. Mary’s session, community activist David Carlos Salaverry said that “many of us think this is a sham, that Tony Chaplin has the blessing of the POA and the mayor.”…

The big question that the Police Commission will face as it evaluates the field of candidates is: Can someone who has spent a career rising through what pretty much everyone agrees is a toxic culture at SFPD possibly lead the kind of dramatic reforms that are needed?

Can an outsider who takes the reigns at a department historically hostile to outsiders get the support he or she needs to overhaul the department’s policies and politics?
Will the mayor and the commissioners he has appointed be willing to hire and support an outsider who wants to shake up the SFPD?

Did Lee and Loftus make enough of an effort to reach out and recruit candidates from outside the department? Or has the general impression out of City Hall – that the fix is in, that the next chief will come from within the ranks – spread nationwide and discouraged good candidates from applying?…

And will the commissioners – the majority of whom are appointed by the mayor – make public the three finalists they forward, and conduct an open process that gives the community confidence that the next chief won’t be another pawn of the POA?… (more)



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