San Francisco holding public meetings to gather input on new police chief
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - The search for a new San Francisco Police Chief has attracted 16 official applications so far, but the current Acting Chief Toney Chaplin is not among those applicants to date, according to officials involved in the nationwide search.
The deadline to apply for San Francisco Police Chief is August 31st.
The City's Police Commission held its first of five public meetings Monday which are designed to listen and record residents' opinions on what they would like to see in a new chief.
The meeting was held in the Bayview neighborhood at 1800 Oakdale Monday night and attracted a smaller-than-expected crowd of about forty people. The attendees sat in two circles for an informal and vigorous dialogue with police commissioners about the criteria and characteristics they'd like to see in the search for a chief.
Members of the youth group Mo'Magic facilitated the discussion and wrote out the comments on pages and pages of poster paper..
"The interim chief right now, he's part of the systematic problem that's part of SFPD right now," said Maria Villalta, of Visitation Valley who is also a member of the community activist group SF Alliance.
Some people said the new chief should be able to de-escalate standoffs and other tense situations.
Other people called for more integrity and accountability in the process.
"If they are afraid to go against the status quo and going in and turn this stuff upside down, nothing's going to change no matter who you bring in," said one man.
The dialogue comes as San Francisco police, like departments nationwide, wrestle with police policies, tense community relations, and leadership in the wake of fatal police shootings such as the Mario Woods case in San Francisco.
Acting Chief Chaplin, a San Francisco police veteran, has been praised for implementing new use of force guidelines in four cases this summer that ended peacefully.
"People have been armed with knives, people have been armed with guns and there was no use of force, so that's the thrust of what we're trying to do here," said Dr. Joseph Marshall, a San Francisco Police Commission member.
Some community members voiced concerns that the commission had already settled on Chaplin.
The commission members said community input will be critical to their decision and they want to hear more from the public through the remaining four meetings. They also have new surveys in 5 languages available online for community input.
One difference from previous searches, according to Sgt. Rachael Kilshaw, the police commission liaison. Instead of having an outside recruiter narrow down the applicant pool, the commission plans to review all of applications before making a decision.
Subsequent meetings are scheduled for:
- Wednesday, August 17, 2016, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Gordon
J. Lau Elementary School, 950 Clay Street, San Francisco
- Thursday, August 18, 2016, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Mission
High School Cafeteria, 3750 18th Street, San Francisco
- Wednesday, August 24, 2016, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Scottish
Rite Masonic Center, 2850 19th Avenue, San Francisco
- Monday, August 29, 2016, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St.Mary's
Cathedral, 1111 Gough Street, San Francisco.
Two or three commission members will attend each meeting.
The city will be taking applications for chief through the end of August. Applications will be kept confidential, according to San Francisco Police Commission officials.
Members of the public wishing to provide input on the selection process who cannot attend one of the meetings can also submit written materials to the commission or take a survey at http://www.ralphandersen.com/sfpc-survey/.
A summary of all the data collected during the community input process will be presented to the police commission and the public before candidate interviews, which are expected to take place in late September.