S.F. Mayor Defends Chief From Critique Over Low-Key Style


San Francisco Police Chief Heather Fong’s low-key style had been widely expected to stabilize a department buffeted by infighting during the brief tenures of her predecessors, says the San Francisco Chronicle. Almost three years into her term, that style has made her vulnerable to attack even from supporters of the mayor who appointed her. As police morale sinks and politicians try to influence the department’s direction, Fong is practically invisible, they complain.

The grumbling burst into the open at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. One supervisor said the department lacked decisive leadership. Two other board allies of Mayor Gavin Newsom said they had gone to the mayor to complain about the state of the department under Fong. “I stand by the chief,” the mayor said. “I care about performance. She’s making progress.” Newsom said crime in the city had dropped in recent months, particularly the number of gang killings, and that Fong deserved credit for the decline. Fong said that being chief “is not a popularity contest. But I will do what is right at the end of the day.” She added: “I will never rant and rave and pound on the podium. It’s not me. But I will fight for the officers in the Police Department.”

Link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/11/16/BAGGKMDKF61.DTL

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