The San Diego City Council will consider approving the city’s first female police chief at a meeting Tuesday. Meanwhile, some community leaders are criticizing the speed and process by which she was selected.
Assistant Chief Shelley Zimmerman, a 32-year veteran of the department, was the choice of incoming Mayor Kevin Faulconer when he was tasked to replace retiring Chief William Lansdowne.
As city councilmembers prepare to discuss Zimmerman’s selection, the San Diego chapter of the Americans Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) criticized the choice as one with “zero community input.”
Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, the ACLU’s senior police advocate, told NBC 7 the decision should have involved San Diegans.
"Making this a quick decision about who would be interim makes sense but I don't really see that this was a net positive in terms of impression or what this communicates to San Diego," Dooley-Sammuli said.
Mayor Faulconer announced he would appoint Zimmerman once he took office on Monday, March 3. His announcement came just hours after Lansdowne publicly announced he had decided to step down.
Some community leaders like Todd Gloria had also asked for a national search for the right candidate for police chief.
Mayor Faulconer argued that Zimmerman is an extremely qualified choice. She has worked in narcotics and internal affairs as well as served on the Mayor's Executive Protection Detail and as a field lieutenant.
The new police chief will be working through multiple accusations of sexual misconduct on the job.
In February, former officer Christopher Hays pleaded not guilty to charges of false imprisonment and sexual battery in his interaction with women while on duty.
A second officer, who has been identified by multiple sources as Officer Donald Moncrief, is under investigation for inappropriate contact with female detainees that may include exposing himself, accordign to police offiicals. No charges have been filed.
Zimmerman has said she does not tolerate officers dishonoring the badge and supports the plan to bring in an outside auditor to look at department practices and training.
The San Diego ACLU has a meeting scheduled with Zimmerman Monday to continue discussing issues left from Lansdowne’s term.