Los Angeles transplant William Scott was recently sworn in as San Francisco’s newest police chief at city hall. His appointment to the position was announced in December, in the wake of SF’s former chief, Greg Suhr’s resignation last spring. Suhr stepped down amidst racial scandals within the department in addition to a rash of officer involved shootings.
According to news reports from San Francisco, Scott is taking over “a department that is working to implement reforms based on a U.S. Department of Justice report issued in October that found racial disparities in traffic stops and searches, problems in the handling of use of force incidents and a lack of transparency, among other issues.”
Also according to reports, the department also recently finalized a revised use of force policy that has become the subject of litigation with the San Francisco Police Officers Association.
The department recently revised their use of force policy but the city’s police union San Francisco’s Police Officers Association is fighting against it. They are against a ban on shooting at moving vehicles and a ban on a type of chokehold that cuts off blood flow to the brain. The union was not expecting Scott’s appointment, since they had supported interim Chief Toney Chaplin.
“I’ve been in that position before with a new chief coming in from outside the organization, and I know many of the officers that I will have the pleasure of serving will look at this situation with skepticism,” said Scott.
“But I see it as a great opportunity. It’s not about being a popular chief. It’s about being the chief that officers see as being consistent, that officers see as doing the right thing in giving them what they need to do their jobs. It’s about being accountable to the community.
“You take away the titles, you strip away everything, and what it comes down to is, ‘Is this person a good person? That is something that in over 27 years in law enforcement that I’ve always tried to do and always tried to be, and I felt it served me well and it is genuine. It’s not about trying to curry favor and ingratiate myself to people. It’s about letting people get to know who I am.”
Scott, an Alabama native, served for 27 years with the Los Angeles Police Department, most recently as deputy chief.