San Francisco Police Commission President Suzy Loftus listens to community members during a Police Commission meeting at City Hall on Feb. 10. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)

SFPD chief finalists could be picked tonight

San Francisco’s Police Commission could pick the three finalists for police chief tonight in a closed session hearing, said Suzy Loftus, the commission’s president.

The commission, which chooses three finalists to send to Mayor Ed Lee for the final selection, has been moving forward with the search for a permanent chief since former Chief Greg Suhr resigned in late May after a fatal police shooting in the Bayview.

Since then, Acting Chief Toney Chaplin has led the department in its attempts to reform.

The search for chief comes at a time of turmoil for a department facing a raft of negative reviews.

The mayor demanded implementations to use of force reforms that focus on the sanctity of life following a series of fatal police shootings after the death of Mario Woods on Dec. 2, 2015.

The City also asked for the Federal Department of Justice to launch a collaborative review of the department, which was completed in mid October and painted a less than rosy picture of the department from bias to transparency.

The federal review came soon after the release of another independent inquiry, launched by District Attorney George Gascon. That review looked into the department on a number of levels, but focused on revelations about several groups of officers sending racists text messages.

The next chief will have to manage implementing reforms recommended by these reviews and at the same time deal with the often less-than-cooperative police union, which has already stalled the implementation of several use of force reforms that are increasingly seen as best practices.

Deputy and newly appointed interim Chief Toney Chaplin looks on as Mayor Ed Lee announces his request of resignation from SFPD Chief Greg Suhr during a press conference at City Hall Thursday, May 19, 2016 following a fata officer involved shooting in the Bayview District earlier in the day. (Emma Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Deputy and newly appointed interim Chief Toney Chaplin looks on as Mayor Ed Lee announces his request of resignation from SFPD Chief Greg Suhr during a press conference at City Hall Thursday, May 19, 2016 following a fata officer involved shooting in the Bayview District earlier in the day. (Emma Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Chaplin, who has said publicly that he wants the job, was among a group of more than 60 candidates the commission has had to consider.

While the group has been narrowed since the search firm first reached out for candidates, the commission has not said publicly who the semi-finalists are.

The candidate pool included a wide variety of people from inside and outside of the department, and from across California and the U.S. It also included a variety of experience levels.

Both Suhr and the Police Officers Association have backed Chaplin while some activities groups have said such endorsements should be a mark against Chaplin.

Former SFPD Chief Greg Suhr  (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner file photo)
Former SFPD Chief Greg Suhr (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner file photo)

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