Police commission promises to find new chief in 6 weeks

February 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
It took the San Francisco Police Commission six months to find former Chief George Gascon who quit to become the district attorney. This time the commission is promising to find a new chief in six weeks and that process has begun with community involvement.

"Promote them from inside because every time we bring these damn outsiders in here to go for a job like in Oakland, look at the fiasco that happened with their chief of police. I don't want that crap for San Francisco," said Harold Miller from the Sunnydale Tenants Association.

At times it was a spirited exchange. Police commissioners held the meeting at the United Irish Cultural Center in the Sunset District and asked for community input on choosing a new police chief. Of the 40 people that attended, a dozen gave input.

"I would like to see a good policeman and that's what a chief should be," said Peter Kardassakis.

This is one of three meetings the commission plans to have before choosing a new chief. It took the commission six months to select Gascon. This time commission president Thomas Mazzucco said they'll have a choice of three candidates to hand the mayor in six weeks.

"It's very important to us to have community input because this is their chief of police, it's not the police department's chief," said Mazzucco.

The majority of feedback from the community was that they wanted a chief chosen from within the department. Someone they said doesn't have to take time trying to understand the department and who has a stake in the city.

"Someone who is fair. Someone who is looking to just make the city better, a better place to live, a better place for families," said Sunset District resident Mary Spellman.

The police commission said this time their job is doubly difficult because they're not only choosing a police chief, but one that will survive a new administration.

"It's the goal of this commission to choose a chief that is so strong that the next mayor will be very interested in keeping that chief," said Mazzucco.

The commission plans to have three names before the mayor by March 15.

ABC7 has learned that 75 people from all over the country have applied to lead San Francisco's police department, including interim Chief Jeff Godown who had promised his predecessor he would not go after the job. Godown is a friend of former Chief Gascon who brought him in from Los Angeles to serve as his second in command.

Many of the rank and file officers are not supporting Godown for chief. Officer Kevin Martin of the Police Officers Association says the new chief should be someone who is "entrenched" in the department, "so they know what has worked and what needs to be changed."

Two former police chiefs, Frank Jordan and Tony Ribera, agree that an internal candidate would be ideal.

"We have a quality department. I don't think we need to shake things up," Ribera said.

Among those who want to be top cop are:

  • Interim Chief Jeff Godown
  • Capt. Greg Suhr
  • Capt. Al Casciato
  • Capt. Dennis O'Leary

Load Comments