San Diego

Process Begins in Search of New San Diego Police Chief

Current SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman will retire in March due to requirements laid out by the city pension and retirement program known as DROP

The San Diego mayor’s office has started the process of searching for a new police chief to replace current San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman.

Zimmerman will retire in March due to requirements laid out by the city pension and retirement program known as DROP.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer is in charge of finding her replacement and is encouraging community members to participate in the selection process.

Faulconer announced four community forums to be held in September.

But already, one San Diego city councilmember is voicing concern over the transparency of the process.

Councilmember David Alvarez said he is concerned none of the meetings are scheduled to be in South San Diego where there is "significant police interaction."

Alvarez is also concerned over what he is calling a "secret panel" that will ultimately interview and select a new chief.

"Without knowing who those individuals are, how do we know that they will be representing the various diverse individuals and diverse points of view that exist in the city of San Diego? We won’t know that because we don’t know who’s going to be on that panel," said Alvarez.

In a memo sent to council members by city Chief Operating Officer Scott Chadwick, the panel members will not be identified during the selection process to ensure that the process is not compromised.

The memos continues on to say it will ensure the panel members are not lobbied by prospective candidates or special interest groups.

In response to Alvarez’ concerns, a spokesperson with the city responded by email, writing:

"Community input is a priority to this process and we encourage participation at all forums and via the online survey. While forums aren’t occurring in every single neighborhood, all are accessible by transit to ensure the greatest possible participation," said Katie Keach.

Here are the times and locations of the four scheduled forums:

  • Thursday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m.: Standley Recreation Center (3585 Governor Drive, San Diego, CA 92122)
  • Saturday, Sept. 23 at 1 p.m.:  Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation (404 Euclid Ave., San Diego, CA 92114)
  • Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m.: Mira Mesa Senior Center (8460 Mira Mesa Blvd., San Diego, CA 92126)
  • Thursday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m.: St. Paul’s Cathedral (2728 Sixth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103)
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