Mayor Ed Lee reports between 20 to 25 applicants for new police chief 

The search for a new police chief in San Francisco is moving into its final stages, Mayor Ed Lee told the San Francisco Examiner Wednesday.

Lee said he had been informed by Police Commission President Thomas Mazzucco that by Tuesday’s 5 p.m. application deadline, between 20 and 25 applications had been received.

The prospective police chiefs included “a healthy mix of internal and external” candidates,” Lee said.

The commission has stressed an effort not to leak any names publicly.

Lee said the commission will now go through “the interview and vetting process” and submit up to three recommendations to him.

“I believe that choice will be before me in early or mid-March,” he said.

Lee will then interview the choices and make his selection. He can also reject the applicants and start the process over.

Because San Francisco’s police chief serves at the pleasure of the mayor, and Lee is not expected to run for the office in November, Lee was asked about whether or not The City would be better served by simply keeping interim police Chief Jeff Godown in the post until the next mayor is elected.

But Lee dismissed the idea of a lame-duck police chief.

“I reject the notion that anyone is a lame duck,” Lee said, “and in particular, for a police chief of a city like San Francisco … I think that position needs to be confirmed officially by The City, and the only way you do that is to go through a formal process.”

“I believe that whoever is the chief that we choose, will be there for the long term, and The City needs that, they need that stability,” Lee said. “It is not one that should be acting or interim at all.”

Godown, for his part, has said that he would not seek permanent appointment as chief.

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