SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — In his final act as mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom swore in police Chief George Gascon as the new district attorney in a special ceremony held on the mayor’s balcony inside City Hall Sunday.

Newsom, who will take his place as lieutenant governor Monday, admitted that the appointment came “extraordinarily quick” during his search for a candidate to replace Kamala Harris, who is now attorney general of California.

As he carefully narrowed down the candidates to about six people, Newsom sought counsel from Gascon on Saturday.

But as Newsom listened to Gascon give his recommendations for the district attorney seat, the outgoing mayor realized his search was over.

“It became clear to me that he was the choice,” Newsom said.

Gascon, who didn’t previously know he was being considered, had to make up his mind quickly when Newsom made the offer.

Just before 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Gascon was sworn in as district attorney.

“You have offered me two incredible opportunities,” Gascon said to Newsom of his position as police chief and now as district attorney.

Gascon said he could offer a worthwhile perspective to the district attorney role.

“At the end of the day, it’s about delivering public safety to the community,” Gascon said. “I’m taken aback by this awesome honor given to me.”

The new district attorney is already receiving support from city officials.

“Police Chief George Gascon is a stellar choice for district attorney of San Francisco,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement. “I know Mayor Newsom had a very tough decision to make among a number of excellent potential successors, and he has made an experienced, top-notch pick.”

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

Gascon, the first Latino district attorney in San Francisco’s history, was appointed as police chief by Newsom in 2009, according to the mayor’s office.

Gascon holds a juris doctorate degree from Western State University College of Law and is an active member of the California Bar Association.

During Gascon’s time as San Francisco police chief, violent crime dropped to lows not seen since the 1960s, according to the mayor’s office.

Prior to joining San Francisco Police Department, Gascon served as a member of the Los Angeles Police Department from 1978 to 1981. He left the LAPD to pursue a career in business management, while volunteering as a reserve officer, and returned to the department full time in 1987.

Gascon worked his way up to assistant police chief and director of the Office of Operations in charge of patrol, detectives, aviation, special operations and jails. He also served as the chief of the Mesa Police Department in Arizona.

San Francisco police Assistant Chief Jeff Godown will serve as acting police chief until a permanent chief is selected by the Police Commission and the interim mayor.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (15)
  1. billy waddey says:

    Maybe Kamala could hook him up with a hair stylist!! I weep for the future of this once proud City. We are continually overrun by carpet baggers.

  2. pauk says:

    Because everyone from here is either dumb or corrupt.

  3. Roger Craig says:

    Do not weep, fight to get appointments made by the people of this once great city. to many sheep here and we really need wolves not handouts to the people that do not need it.

  4. mel says:

    Well, like all the demoncats say,”time for Change!”

  5. Count to 10 says:

    Does anyone who is commenting actually know anything about the position or the individual appointed to fill it? Can anyone commenting even name the last five District Attorneys we have had? How about the last five Chiefs of Police? And, by the way, what legitimate role should a political party affiliation play in this particular position? Just a few thoughts …

  6. Bloodhounds says:

    I hope he takes care of business. Harris let so many criminals go with a slap on the wrist. Does this guy believe in the death penalty for cop killers?

  7. Dean says:

    Three months George Gascon stood in front of the entire board of directors of the Police Officers Association and told us when asked are you interviewing for any other positions. He assured us he was in for the long haul. He turned our department upside down disbanded the Bureau of Inspectors without a plan in place and created new units which are ineffective. Compstat his golden goose is a complete joke. The Operations Center once manned effectively by 6-8 members now has 21, to answer four phones. And leaves with an interim chief who holds the rank of detective, who’s claim to fame is his command of Comptstat in LA. Gascon lied to the people of San Francisco and everyone should be outraged. District Attorney and has never prosecuted a case in his life!!!!!!!

    1. jon says:

      Hey Dean sounds like u should keep in house issues and opinions just that, IN HOUSE. I’m sure YOUR genius ideas have been the key to the lower crime rates, and nothing at all to do with the new policies and procedures that were implemented by the chief. U do know that IA can subpoena the CBS servers and find ur ip address, u moron. think about that before u shoot ur mouth off again about issues u should keep in house

  8. Kat Anderson says:

    The DA needs to be a good administrator; he won’t be trying cases. So, it does not matter that Gascon has not ever been a prosecutor. What he does understand is good police work and how to motivate employees to work hard, do their jobs well, or move on out. We need that in the DA’s office, which has suffered from a lack of motivating leadership over the years (no disrespect meant to Ms. Harris). We need a rock, someone committed to improving the DA’s office. Gascon offers that. He’s smart and he knows how to read people. Give him a chance. If you don’t like his results, support another candidate in November!

  9. Zack Debarco says:

    Big loss for SFPD, maybe, but it could be a coup for SF! Finally a person who should understand why it is important to enforce the law. NON ENFORCEMENT BREEDS NONCONFORMITY!!!

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