Final three prospects for police chief kept secret

The names of three candidates for San Francisco’s next chief of police have been forwarded by the Police Commission to Mayor Ed Lee for consideration, city officials said Thursday.

The commission launched a search for a new police chief in May following the resignation of former Chief Greg Suhr and the appointment of interim Chief Toney Chaplin.

The department has received at least 60 applications, 11 of which came from current or former members of the Police Department, according to commission officials.

Chaplin, a former head of the department’s homicide detail and a key figure in department reform efforts under Suhr, was among those applying for the job and has the backing of groups including the San Francisco Police Officers Association.

The new chief, when selected, will take office at a time of great change in the department. Suhr’s abrupt departure following the police shooting of 29-year-old Jessica Williams came after months of protests and turmoil over similar officer-involved shootings, including the deaths of Mario Woods last December and Luis Gongora in April.

Lee has said the new chief will be expected to implement the recommendations of a U.S. Department of Justice collaborative review that was launched under Suhr.

The result of that review was a report released last month that found racial disparities in traffic stops and searches, problems in the handling of use of force incidents and a lack of transparency around officer discipline cases, among many other issues.

The commission has chosen to keep the names of the final three candidates confidential, despite calls from some quarters to release the names.

Supervisor Jane Kim today released a statement urging the mayor to release the names and invite the public to comment and participate.

Kim said, arguing that other cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, Memphis, San Antonio and Fort Worth have taken similar steps:

“In order to fully embrace community policing — we actually need to include the community, including soliciting their input in the choice of a new chief.”

Supervisor Norman Yee also weighed in on the chief’s search Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors meeting, introducing a non-binding resolution calling for the police chief to live in San Francisco and for the city to support relocation for whoever is selected, if necessary.