Officers given new jobs after crime-lab scandal

A fresh batch of San Francisco police officers has been promoted to fill command-staff spots left vacant after high-ranking officers failed to rein in a growing scandal at the drug lab.

The fastest rise to the top comes for the personal driver and assistant to former police Chief Heather Fong. Capt. Tom Shawyer, who was a lieutenant in April 2009, will become an assistant chief working as chief of staff for top cop George Gascón.

The promotion comes with a hefty pay raise. Assistant chiefs make a base salary of $269,776 before ­benefits, while captains make between $174,772 and $185,198, according to Lt. Lyn Tomioka, who defended the quarter-million dollar salary of the assistant chief.

“They work long hours,” she said. “They’re available 24 hours a day. With that paycheck comes the responsibility for the citizens of San Francisco.”

Cmdr. Denise Schmitt, who briefly served as captain of the Taraval Police Station until July, has been promoted to assistant chief of the administrative bureau. Schmitt garnered media attention when she, along with Supervisor Carmen Chu, opposed a medical marijuana dispensary earlier this year in the Sunset district.

Schmitt replaces Kevin Cashman, who was demoted to captain. Cashman was made aware of several problems with lab technician Deborah Madden, including an e-mail­ from the District Attorney’s Office in November and evidence of theft turned in by Madden’s sister in December. An investigation that would eventually lead to the dismissal of hundreds of drug cases was delayed for months.

After bouncing around the department — working at the Ingleside station, taking over the crime lab and doing a stint with the operations bureau, et al. — Capt. David Lazar also was promoted. He will command the investigations bureau and make about $200,000.

Lazar was first promoted under Fong and was tapped to institute reforms recommended under a study by the Police Executive Research Forum. He replaces John Loftus, who was demoted to captain.

Some surprises accompanied the round of promotions. Police union Vice President Kevin Martin said current union President Gary Delagnes had been considered for a top job, but he turned it down.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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