The embattled president of the San Francisco Police Commission surprised police reformers Tuesday, when she announced that she was quitting the gig for a job with the San Francisco Sheriff's Department.
Suzy Loftus, who the Ex characterizes as "the face of police reform efforts in San Francisco," stepped down from her position at the top of the police oversight body Tuesday. Her next stop will be at the Sheriff's Department, where she will become the agency's assistant chief legal counsel as of January 17, a position that pays $190,242 a year.
Appointed to the Commission by Mayor Ed Lee in 2012, she's been president since 2014 - a tumultuous period to oversee a department plagued with scandal (text-based and otherwise) and shaken by a series of shootings that ended the career of then-Chief Greg Suhr.
“There’s a lot more work to do,” Loftus told the Ex Tuesday. “What matters is what did get done.”
“I think through the last two years of an incredibly divisive national conversation, we in San Francisco have leaned into the difficult conversations and made decisions to bring us closer together,” Loftus told the Chron. “I feel like I’m leaving the commission in a great position to continue the progress we made.”
“Suzy has helped navigate a federal review with the Department of Justice, worked to implement reforms and led the charge to select the next San Francisco police chief,” Lee said via written statement.
Her departure worries some advocated for SFPD change, who say that vigorous opposition to federally-recommended reforms from the San Francisco Police Officer's Association places efforts to improve the department in jeopardy.
While we often disagreed on a variety of issues and decisions that she made, I never had any doubt that she was motivated to try and move the SFPD in a more positive direction,” Former ACLU lawyer and SFPD gadfly John Crew tells the Ex.
“The question now is, will her successor and commission hold the line against what is clearly, ongoing, vigorous resistance from the POA?”
The successor Crew refers to has yet to be revealed, as he or she must be appointed by Lee at some point in the near future. Until then, the Commission might be short a staffer, as Loftus' last meeting with the body will be today's. And then it's on to the Sheriff's Department, where the Ex reports that she will "make calls on issues that would touch both the Police Department and the Sheriff’s Department," likely an less contentious job than the one she's occupied in recent years.
“She was at the center of a lot of change,” Coalition on Homelessness head Jennifer Friedenbach told the Ex. “She got shit from everybody.”
“Contrary to what people may say or believe, she was not on any one side,” Human Rights Commission executive director Sheryl Davis told the Chron.
“A lot of people do a lot of talking, but she actually did the work. She was fair, and she was truly dedicated to doing what she felt was best and right for the community, and not just for a few.”