San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s pick to lead the city’s troubled police department as acting chief, Heather Fong plans to launch a reform agenda that will include replacing some members of the command staff and trying to improve relations between police and minorities, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
Fong, a department veteran who will replace controversial Chief Alex Fagan if her promotion is approved Wednesday by the Police Commission, said she will apply for the permanent job. A national search is under way.
The new mayor hopes to restore public trust in a force that has been criticized for its crime-solving and is tarnished by the indictments of then-assistant chief Fagan and other top commanders after a street brawl that included three off-duty officers. Charges against the top officers were dismissed in the incident known by some as “Fajitagate” because it involved a dispute over a bag of fajitas.
Newsom sent Fagan, 53, to head the city’s Office of Emergency Services. Fong, 47, said she has plans for changes in the department’s administration, budget, disciplinary procedures, investigations divisions use of technology, and in the way field officers work to be visible in their communities. “There will be steps to ensure that we restore confidence from the public in this department,” she said. “I know the officers are doing a great job out there. Can we improve? Yes we can, and (officers) will be given direction through the bureau chiefs to take those steps to move forward.”
Newsom said gave Fong the green light to make aggressive changes, telling her, “Chief Fong, we’ve got to move.” Newsom named Joanne Hayes- White as the city’s first female Fire Chief, meaning San Francisco has women in charge of its two major public safety agencies.