12:03 PM (Dan McMenamin, BCN): Greg Suhr was sworn in this morning as San Francisco’s new police chief.
Suhr, the captain of the Police Department’s Bayview Station, was selected by Mayor Ed Lee after a months-long search that started in January when former Chief George Gascon took over as district attorney.
Gascon’s second-in-command, Jeff Godown, has served as interim chief in the meantime.
Suhr, a 30-year veteran of the department, was one of three finalists nominated by the Police Commission and was sworn in at a ceremony at City Hall today by Lee, who said Suhr will “a reformer from the inside out.”
The chief serves at the pleasure of the mayor, but Lee, who is interim mayor until the November election, said he thinks Suhr will be around long-term.
“While I’m an interim mayor, I don’t make interim decisions,” he said.
Suhr said called his selection “the biggest honor” and joked that as a fourth-generation San Franciscan, he is clearly a “local hire,” a reference to a new hiring law recently enacted in the city.
Suhr took over as captain of the Bayview Station in 2009 and “has done wonders for that community,” Lee said.
Police Commission President Thomas Mazzucco said Suhr also has the support of the rank-and-file in the Police Department.
Suhr has had his share of drama within the department, however. While serving as deputy chief in charge of field operations, he was briefly indicted in 2003 as part of an incident involving off-duty police officers that was dubbed “Fajita-gate,” but was cleared of the charge the next year.
In 2005, he was reassigned to a job overseeing homeland security at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission shortly after an incident in which a police officer was seriously injured at an anarchist protest. Heather Fong, who was police chief at the time, said the reassignment was not related to that incident.
Lee said those “issues were vetted very, very thoroughly” before the pick was made.
Gascon picked Suhr to head the Bayview Station in 2009. Gascon said today that Suhr “exceeded all my expectations” in that role.
Suhr said he knows it is critical to maintain the public’s trust as chief.
He will take over a department that has been beset with scandals recently, including videos released by Public Defender Jeff Adachi last month that appear to show misconduct by officers at residential hotels around the city.
11:07 AM: San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee swore in Greg Suhr as the city’s new police chief this morning, in a City Hall ceremony attended, says the Ex, by “several city officials.”
Suhr, the captain of the Police Department’s Bayview Station, was one of three finalists for the post nominated by the Police Commission.
Police Commission President Thomas Mazzucco said he is “very pleased” at the mayor’s pick.
“One thing that emerged clear as day, no matter what community we went into – Bayview, Sunset, Mission, Castro – people came forward and said Suhr has done it, he’s turned into the walking definition of community policing,” Mazzucco said.
Mazzucco said that along with tremendous community support, Suhr also has the support of the rank-and-file of the Police Department.
“I just got stopped by an officer saying thank you,” he said.
“They want to work for someone that’s walked the walk.”
Suhr has had his share of drama within the department, though. While serving as deputy chief, he was briefly indicted in 2003 as part of an incident involving off-duty police officers that was dubbed “Fajita-gate” by the media, but was cleared of the charge the next year.
In 2005, when he was deputy chief in charge of field operations, he was reassigned to a job overseeing homeland security at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission shortly after an incident in which a police officer was injured at an anarchist protest.
Heather Fong, who was police chief at that time, said the reassignment was not related to the protest.
In 2009, Suhr was picked by then-Chief George Gascon to head the Bayview Station.
Suhr will replace Jeff Godown, who had been serving as interim chief since January when Gascon was picked to take over as district attorney after Kamala Harris was elected the state’s attorney general.
Dan McMenamin of Bay City News contributed significantly to this report