Proposed Rule Change Would Allow New Chief to Purge Top SFPD Brass

Chief George Gascon
New San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon has not announced plans to liquidate top SFPD brass and fill positions with his own people, as he did during his first year as chief of the police department in Mesa, Arizona.

Notwithstanding, a proposed amendment introduced by Supervisor David Campos last week would change the city's administrative code to allow him to do just that. The proposed rule change would let the chief make appointments to his command staff from lower ranks, or even outside the department.

In the July 22 cover story "The Outsider", SF Weekly quoted former police brass in Mesa, where Gascon served as chief before being sworn in as the top cop in San Francisco earlier this month, as saying local police supervisors should expect a purge.

"I think 60 percent of the staff members that are there now will be reassigned or move on," said 30-year Mesa veteran Hector Federico -- who was among the 10 of 14 Mesa commanders who decided within a year of Gascon's arrival that the time was right to leave.

The proposed amendment to the city's administrative code introduced last week would allow the chief to "select for appointment to non-civil service ranks above the rank of captain any sworn law enforcement officer with supervisory experience, either with the San Francisco Police Department or with any local state or federal agency."

As a practical matter, that means Gascon could yank one assistant chief, four deputy chiefs and two commanders for replacements of his own choosing.

To those wishing to apply political pressure to the proposed ordinance's sponsors, it's worth nothing they'll have to take on most of the Board of Supervisors. The proposal is co-presented by Supervisors Campos, Michela Alioto-Pier, John Avalos, David Chiu, Chris Daly, Eric Mar, Sophie Maxwell, and Ross Mirkarimi.

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