Newsom keeps Fong on as police chief

Police Chief Heather Fong remains at her post despite months of speculation that she would be forced out as part of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s request of resignation letters from department heads.

On the day Newsom announced who is out and who is in, Fong jointly announced promotions to the department’s command staff.

City officials and the Police Officers Association have criticized Fong for lacking leadership as The City continues to experience record-setting murder rates.

POA president Gary Delagnes said, “I’ve made my feelings clear in the past about the chief. I’ve made my feelings clear to the mayor, and the mayor has made a decision. And I guess it’s my job to honor that decision.”

Newsom did make one high-profile public safety change in his administration by hiring a law enforcement heavy-hitter, former U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan, to lead the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. In this position, Ryan will work with the Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office and courts to establish strategies and policies to battle the crime crisis.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi said that despite Newsom not accepting Fong’s resignation “it’s unclear to me what the mayor’s intentions are about the police chief.” Mirkarimi suggested that Ryan’s appointment to lead the criminal justice office is a “precursor” to him eventually taking over as police chief.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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