Details released of 61 candidates for SFPD chief’s job

Twenty one are from out of state. Eleven are internal candidates. Seventeen are current or former police chiefs. Sixteen have been assistant or deputy chiefs. Five are women. One is from Nigeria.

These were just a few of the details in a report given to the Police Commission on Wednesday by Ralph Andersen & Associates, the search firm hired to find the candidate pool for the next chief of police in San Francisco.

In all, 61 people applied for the position, including acting Chief Toney Chaplin, said Ralph Andersen’s Gary Peterson, who noted that while the deadline was said to be Aug. 31, additional applicants have been included since it was a soft deadline.

“While it’s passed, it’s listed as open until filled,” Peterson said.

The candidate pool breakdown did not include ethnic or educational details.

But it did go into detail on rank, geographic origin and gender.

Among the candidates there were also nine captains, commanders and majors. There were three former federal agents and three lieutenants. The group also included two consultants and two educators. Twelve live in California, and of the two international candidates, one came from Cyprus.

The candidates come from departments as small as 20 officers and as large at 10,000.

The commission wanted some of the candidate details released, but that information was sparse because the process remains anonymous.

The breakdown of candidates, with a wide variety of experience, may raise anew questions around the qualifications of the acting chief, who is backed by some powerful interests.

Candidate breakdown aside, the search firm also reported on what the public and the rank and file said they’d like in the next chief.

Five public meetings and a survey resulted in a list of attributes from residents. They included a chief who has leadership experience, is an advocate for the public, makes sure officers are accountable and takes into account the high number of people with mental health issues in San Francisco. Also, some said they wanted a chief committed to reforms.

Officers, meanwhile, had mixed opinions on what they want in a chief. Some wanted an insider. Others an outsider. But most agreed that they want a strong, professional leader who increases training and seeks to move the department toward 21st-century policing practices.

The commission is tasked with choosing three candidates for Mayor Ed Lee to choose from for a permanent chief, but that process has not been without a few bumps along the way. For one, an erroneous news report aired stating that the mayor backs Chaplin for the job..

Chaplin, who took over in May after Greg Suhr resigned on the heels of a fatal officer shooting incident in the Bayview, has also applied for the job. Suhr and the San Francisco Police Officers Association have said they support Chaplin for the job.

The commission expects to forward the three finalists to Lee within the next two months.

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