sfpd_cityhall.jpgBlatantly disregarding Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius’ request that the SF Police Commission take their time to choose the next SFPD chief, after a closed-session meeting Tuesday, the Commission presented their picks to Mayor Ed Lee. Who’s on the list? No one knows for sure, but there’s plenty of speculation.

The Chron’s Matier and Ross notes that Lee hasn’t tried to steer the selection process, which makes him unlike Gavin (in oh so many ways!). Newsom, they say “made sure that his two picks – Heather Fong and later George Gascón – were among the Police Commission’s three finalists” in past Chief selection cases. Their fellow Chronicle columnist Willie Brown was also a selection-steerer, they say, as he “announced his first police chief – Fred Lau – out of the blue during his inaugural address, then had the commission confirm the pick.”

Nevius appears to concur with M&R’s assessment of the power a mayor could wield, noting that with November’s mayoral election, anyone chosen this time around might only have the job for a short time — a new mayor, he says, “could appoint a new police chief upon taking office.”

According to the Ex, the Police Commission (yup, the same Police Commission that “promised transparency” for the selection process just two months ago) voted to keep the number of candidates, the names of the candidates, and the breakdown of current SFPD and outside candidates a secret. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t guesses!

Nevius has his money on an internal candidate to replace interim Chief Jeff Godown, asking “how many excellent, out-of-area candidates want to uproot their families for a job that might last only eight months?”

M&R gives us more specifics, saying they hear those still in the running are Bayview Station Capt. Greg Suhr, Cmdr. James Dudley “and an unnamed outsider.”

Suhr, who was a candidate to replace Fong when she departed the Chief position, underwent a high-profile demotion in 2009, in which “he was stripped of his command rank of deputy chief – which he has had since 2002 – and reduced to the civil service rank of captain.”

Dudley, who SF Mag described as “(d)ark, thick, and rugged,” is known for his hard-line approach against SF bars and clubs, which owner of DNA lounge Jamie Zawinski says has turned “the Broadway corridor into a virtual police state.”

Of course, no one (besides Lee and the Commission) knows who’s actually on the list, and they aren’t telling. Next up, Lee will either make a pick from the list, or send it back to the Commission to trade for a new list of names.

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the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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