When we want your opinion, we’ll tell you what it is…Apparently that is the way the San Francisco Police Commission is handling its process for selecting a new police chief. While community groups were invited to give input on the selection criteria, and minority and women police groups are set for a meeting on Monday, February 28, the Police Commission already has sent out dozens of letters rejecting applicants for the chief’s job.
And from what CitiReport has heard, the list no longer has any minorities or women among the names to be considered for forwarding to Mayor Ed Lee.
“It just feels like a railroad job,” Women’s Officers Network head Belinda Kerr told CitiReport. “With all these talks of transparency, all they did was ignore that and do what they wanted to.”
The rejection letters reportedly went out before the Commission heard from community members at meetings at the Southeast Community Center and the LGBT Community Center. The only community group to be heard were those who gathered at the Irish Community Center on the west side and, of course, the Police Officers Association.
Among those rumored to have received a “thanks but no thanks” rejection is Jim Molinari, the head of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s state office, a retired SFPD police captain and a U.S. Marshall in San Francisco appointed by President Clinton. Molinari was rumored to be at the top of the list of candidates with the backing of the minority police officer groups such as the Pride Alliance, Officers for Justice, Asian Police Officers, Latino Police Officers and the Women Officers Network.
Other applicants told they did not make the list to be interviewed include some of the most senior captains in the Department widely recognized for accomplishments in improving community safety.
CitiReport sources indicate that the Commission is being driven by the mayor’s four appointees, leaving the three appointees from the Board of Supervisors with little say in the matter.
The selection process invited applications for the chief’s position on January 24, with a date of March 15 set for three names to be forwarded to Mayor Lee. The past three police chiefs – Fred Lau, Heather Fong and George Gascon – all were minorities.
The charge that the police chief selection is rigged to favor a candidate handpicked by the Police Officers Association and the old boy’s network comes on the heels of a Civil Service Commission hearing that the recent police captain test was influenced by tutoring that advantaged some candidates over others. The Civil Service Commission upheld the test results in a meeting this week, but noted that it did not reach a conclusion on whether Captain David Lazar tutored hopeful applicants and then wrote the questions that appeared on the test. According to the San Francisco Examiner account, Lazar declined comment citing confidentiality requirements.