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Monday, January 12, 2009

Tenderloin Activists Push San Mateo Chief as SF's Next Top Cop

Posted By on Mon, Jan 12, 2009 at 3:53 PM

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An influential neighborhood group serving one of San Francisco's most crime-ridden districts has thrown its weight behind San Mateo Police Chief Susan Manheimer as successor to San Francisco Police Chief Heather Fong, who announced her retirement last month.

In a statement released Saturday, the Community Leadership Alliance (CLA), a group active in the Tenderloin that has strong ties to the mayor's office, said picking Manheimer "is an opportunity for our police commission-mayor to make history, and to give our city the very best police chief in the nation."

Before becoming San Mateo's top cop in 2000, Manheimer (pictured) was SFPD station captain for the Tenderloin. CLA Director David Villa-Lobos told SF Weekly that Manheimer is "the very, very best we've ever had. She truly cares. This is somebody who got stuff done."

In its endorsement, CLA noted the potential for monthly meetings of a citywide police community advisory committee, modeled on a similar group that Manheimer convened in the Tenderloin.

Fong's successor will take on a spate of problems at SFPD, including a high homicide rate and low public confidence in the effectiveness of law-enforcement. A recently completed analysis of the department by the Police Executive Research Forum recommended a number of significant changes, including some aimed at curtailing officers' excessive use of force.

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Peter Jamison

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