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Phil Matier: Politics Always Plays Role In Picking SFPD Chief

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San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr. (SFPD)

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr. (SFPD)

Phil-Matier_BIO-HEAD Phil Matier
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Politics and policing played a role in San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s decision to elevate San Francisco Police Department veteran Greg Suhr from captain of the Bayview precinct to police chief, according to KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier.

Chief Suhr, sworn in Wednesday, brings strong relationships with the city’s diverse constituencies developed over a 30-year career, said Matier.

KCBS And Chronicle Insider Phil Matier:

But appointing a 4th generation San Franciscan was also a politically pragmatic decision, he said.

Matier speculated Lee’s short tenure at City Hall made it difficult to attract national applicants, given that the city could be looking for a new police chief after the November election.

“They could have had a bigger national search if Ed Lee was going to be around guaranteed for four years, but he’s only going to be around for a couple of more months,” he said.

Political considerations in naming a police chief are nothing new, especially in San Francisco.

Matier pointed to former Mayor Gavin Newsom’s headline making choices for police chief and fire chief. In 2004, Heather Fong became the first Asian American woman to head a big city police department, and Joanne Hayes-White became the first woman to head the San Francisco Fire Department.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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