Tensions mount as the San Francisco Police Commission prepares to announce its three to five finalist candidates for the city's new Chief of Police, which the Examiner says will likely be chosen at a closed session hearing Wednesday (tonight) though the Examiner also misreported that the final chief selection was going to be made three weeks ago, so there's that. Meanwhile, a public meeting of the Commission Tuesday night brought out some vocal critics of the chief selection process, as they see it, with "about a dozen" speaking out against the potential hiring of Interim Chief Toney Chaplin, as the Chronicle reports.
Though the meeting did conflict with Dia de los Muertos and a dramatic World Series game, the low turnout of vocal and involved activists in this final stretch of the chief selection process stands in stark contrast to the last ten months of vitriolic and at times civilly disobedient activist over the chief's job, and the SFPD in general.
Among those who spoke out at Tuesday's meeting, there was concern that if, as is rumored, Chaplin has been first in line for the job all along, he will not be able to bring about the sweeping reforms in the department that many are calling for though, to his credit, the SFPD has not fatally shot anyone under his watch, which began in May with the firing/resignation of Chief Greg Suhr in the wake of the third such shooting in six months.
The selection process has been kept largely out of the public eye, with a reported 61 applicants vying for the position, a third of them from outside the state. Members of the group San Franciscans for Police Accountability appeared at Tuesday's meeting to say that Chaplin should be out of the running for the simple reason that he got the endorsement of the often stubborn and self-protective Police Officers' Association, "an institution that is losing political clout because of its intransigence,” said the group's co-founder Bob Gorringe.
Chaplin has faced criticism for being cagey about his educational background (it was ultimately confirmed he'd gotten an online degree from Colorado State University), and just yesterday it surfaced that he threatened the department with an internal investigation last month after a Department of Justice report on the SFPD alleging documented bias but not necessarily racism among department members was leaked to the press in mid-October. It would seem Chaplin's anger over the leak was likely tied to his fear that the report would impact his chances of landing the permanent job.
Meanwhile, Supervisor Norman Yee introduced a non-binding resolution at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors' meeting requiring that candidates for the Chief job reside in San Francisco something that would effectively disqualify Chaplin, since he lives in the East Bay. Chaplin would be the first chief in "recent memory" not to reside here, per the Chron.
The Commissions selections, between three and five of them, will be forwarded on to the mayor for his final selection.