Less than two years after leaving Los Angeles to spearhead police reform in San Francisco, police Chief Bill Scott is reportedly in the running to become the next chief of the Los Angeles Police Department.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday through an anonymous source that Scott is scheduled to interview for the role. Mayor Ed Lee tapped Scott, a former deputy chief of the LAPD, to lead the SFPD in December 2016 after former Chief Greg Suhr resigned in the wake of controversial police shootings.
Since then, the chief has worked on implementing the 272 recommendations for reform from the U.S. Department of Justice and focused on reducing property crime. Scott has also sparred with the police union over its ballot measure on arming officers with stun guns, which the chief called the “antithesis” of reform.
“I learned of this news this morning,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen, who has also supported reforming the SFPD. “If it is true, then yes I’m disappointed.”
An SFPD spokesperson would not confirm or deny whether Scott is a candidate for the LAPD job, but said in a statement that “Chief Scott is focused on this city and its police department.”
“He is specifically focused on reducing crime, carrying out the recommendations by the U.S. Department of Justice and ensuring that the men and women of the SFPD have the resources they need to provide safety for the people of San Francisco,” said Officer Giselle Linanne, an SFPD spokesperson.
The news comes as Scott continues to oversee contract negotiations between city officials and the police union. Scott has backed a city proposal aimed at speeding up reforms in The City by shortening labor negotiations over the DOJ recommendations. The union called that proposal “insulting.”
Scott is reportedly vying for the job less than a month before San Francisco will elect a new mayor who will have the power to appoint a different police chief.
A spokesperson for former Supervisor Angela Alioto, the only mayoral candidate endorsed by the police union, said Scott has been rumored to be seeking out a job in Los Angeles “for quite some time.”
“We have a lot of exceptional candidates already within our ranks and we wouldn’t have to go far if it turns out that the current chief decided to return to Los Angeles,” said Mike Mallen, a spokesperson for Alioto.
“While we respect the service that chief Scott has given The City, we promote having a chief that actually wants to be chief,” Mallen said. “Angela feels the right chief would be someone who knows the department, knows the communities and has the ability to build consensus with all parties at any table.”
Former State Sen. Mark Leno, another of the four apparent frontrunners in the mayoral race, said in a statement that Scott “has led SFPD with integrity and concern for all San Franciscans.
“If I’m elected I would be proud to work with the Chief, and hope to see him stay,” Leno said.