60 applicants compete for SF police chief job

At least 60 people have applied to be San Francisco’s next police chief, with 11 of those applicants being current or former members of the city’s police department, the San Francisco Police Commission announced Thursday.

City officials initially launched a search for a new chief in May following the resignation of former Police Chief Greg Suhr and the appointment of acting Police Chief Toney Chaplin.

The city has entrusted the Southern California-based recruiting firm Ralph Andersen & Associates to conduct the search, police commission officials said.

In addition to the confidential application process, the police commission will also consider information gathered from hundreds of community surveys and police surveys.

The information from residents was collected during a series of meetings held throughout the city last month in which residents were asked about key characteristics and experience the new chief should possess.

Police Commission President Suzy Loftus said in a statement:

“The job of the Police Commission is to identify the very best candidates for consideration to be our next Chief of Police. In order to fully evaluate the candidates who have applied, the commission has spent the last month crisscrossing San Francisco and talking with residents, community members and police officers about what qualities they are looking for in our next Chief.”

The results of the surveys’ findings will then be presented by Ralph Andersen & Associates at the this Wednesday’s police commission meeting, according to the commission.

Loftus said:

“I look forward to getting the results of all the meetings and surveys at our next meeting and integrating this input as we begin the review of applications for one of the most important decisions any city makes.”

After that, the police commission will then meet in a closed session meeting on Sept. 14 and additional meetings, to review materials sent by the applicants and decide which candidates to interview based on the criteria gathered from the community and police surveys, commission officials said.

After the interviews have been conducted, the commission will then submit at least three qualified candidates for consideration by Mayor Ed Lee.

Former Chief Suhr stepped down immediately after the fatal officer-involved shooting of 29-year-old Jessica Williams, who was the third person fatally shot by San Francisco police officers in six months.

Despite efforts to introduce reforms, the former chief had increasingly become the focus of political controversy and protests in the wake of prior police shootings, including that of Mario Woods in December.

Suhr had been with the department for 33 years.

Interim Police Chief Tony Chaplin is the former head of the police department’s homicide detail and has been with the department for 26 years.

Ralph Andersen & Associates is also currently being contracted by the city of Oakland in their search for a police chief as well, following the abrupt resignation of former Oakland police Chief Sean Whent in June.