San Francisco Police Chief George Gascón has been appointed as the city’s first Latino district attorney, the final act by Mayor Gavin Newsom before the mayor becomes lieutenant governor today, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Gascon plans to campaign this year to keep the post. “It was completely unexpected,” Gascón said, adding that, “I’ve taken this because I see a tremendous opportunity to do something unique here.”
The appointment caps Gascón’s brisk rise in San Francisco, where he arrived just 18 months ago after Newsom plucked him from the chief job in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, Az. It alters the city’s law enforcement structure days before City Administrator Ed Lee is expected to be named interim mayor tomorrow. Gascón, 56, will serve out the year left of Kamala Harris’ term as district attorney when she was sworn in as state attorney general Jan. 3. He said he will mount his first campaign for elected office, seeking a full, four-year term in November. Gascón said he plans to build on Harris’ work while developing “a different kind of criminal justice delivery” that would enhance rehabilitation while acknowledging some offenders should remain imprisoned.