Resolution calls for SFPD’s chief to live in SF

As Mayor Ed Lee mulls over a trio of unnamed candidates to fill the position of police chief, on Thursday a city committee recommended that the Board of Supervisors pass a resolution calling on The City to require that all chiefs live in San Francisco.

The San Francisco police chief doesn’t currently have to live within city limits, but when the Police Commission released materials earlier this year as part of the search for a new chief, it noted that residence is recommended.

Supervisor Norman Yee’s resolution urges the Police Commission and the mayor to reassess that rule.

“This is not a new concept,” said Yee on Thursday. “From my constituents I have heard great concern about how important it is to have the fire chief and police chief reside in San Francisco.”

Yee’s resolution points out that the heads of first responder agencies should live in The City in case of emergencies. It also notes that President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommends residency for police.

Until the mid-1980s, The City had required residency for all police chiefs, but that requirement was removed because of challenges in recruiting, Yee said.

To this day, few police officers live in The City, accounting for only 27 percent of the force.

Acting Chief Toney Chaplin, who may be on the short list for the permanent position, does not live in San Francisco and such a rule change could possibly impact his candidacy.

Former Chief Greg Suhr, who resigned in May after the third fatal police shooting in six months, did live in San Francisco when he was chief.

The board’s Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee unanimously supported the resolution, which will go before the full Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

The resolution is nonbinding and merely a recommendation that the police chief live in The City.

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