Mayor Ed Lee stands with Police Commission President Suzy Loftus (left) and Acting Chief Toney Chaplin during a news conference at City Hall Thursday, May 19, 2016. (Emma Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)

SFPD chief finalists sent to mayor, but names still secret

The San Francisco Police Commission has selected three finalists for The City’s next police chief, bringing a months-long period of speculation and worry around the process to a head.

The finalists will be forwarded to Mayor Ed Lee, who makes the final selection.

“We are sending three,” said Commissioner Joe Marshall about the commission’s choice of finalists, which was made late Tuesday night.

But the names of those finalists have yet to be released, leaving the public in the dark about who Lee has to choose from and which candidates have the most experience for the job. It is unclear if Acting Chief Toney Chaplin’s name was forwarded to Lee.

“I cannot tell you anything, and I won’t,” Marshall said when asked about the finalists. “That’s not what I do.”

Lee’s office did not respond to a request from the San Francisco Examiner on whether he plans to ask the finalists if they would release their names. The Police Commission opted in late September to keep the process behind closed doors. Specifically, they voted against a motion that would have requested the candidates release their names.

Meanwhile, Supervisor Jane Kim and others are calling on the mayor to name the finalists.

“This has been an extremely slow and secretive process,” said former ACLU lawyer and police watchdog John Crew. “The good news is that the Police Commission has finally passed on names of finalists to the Mayor’s Office. And that puts the onus on the Mayor’s Office to provide the degree of transparency that is now standard among big city police forces.”

Whomever becomes the next chief will be faced with a long list of reform recommendations handed down in a recent federal review of the department.

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