San Francisco’s new police chief will soon be able to hire a candidate from outside the Police Department to bolster his command staff, after legislation approved today by the Board of Supervisors.

The action required a change of the city’s administrative code, which previously allowed only internal candidates to be promoted to command positions.

Chief George Gascon, the former police chief of Mesa, Ariz., and an assistant chief in Los Angeles, had sought the ability to also hire external candidates as he implements reforms in San Francisco, including the CompStat crime pattern tracking system already employed in those two cities.

Supervisor David Campos, a former member of the San Francisco Police Commission, introduced the legislation, which was unanimously approved by the board today.

Campos said he supported the change in order to allow Gascon “the flexibility to hire the best people possible,” even if that may be a candidate from outside the department, he said.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said he supported the legislation, “because I want to give the new chief a chance,” but he emphasized that he supported advancement for internal candidates as well.

After negotiations with the Police Officers Association, the department’s union, the legislation was amended–at Gascon’s request, Campos said today–to allow only one external candidate to be hired for command, as opposed to an unlimited amount.

Campos said he opposed that particular amendment.

The new legislation will only be in effect for five years.

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  • bloomsm

    I’m not sure how well this will go over with the rank-and-file at SFPD. The new chief came from outside of the department, which should be viewed as a sign from the Mayor’s office that the department is due for a shake up. If the Mayor believed that the department was well-run, he would not have overlooked senior staff at 850 Bryant. Although CompStat is a technology that desperately needs to be implemented, I can’t see how bringing in outsiders will engender much loyalty towards Chief Gascon. Typically, the SFPD (and, by extension, the POA) resist change and innovation.