Police Commission picks renominated
San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell asked the Board of Supervisors on Thursday to reconsider his picks for the city’s Police Commission, two days after the board rejected the same nominations in a 6-5 vote.
Farrell resubmitted his nominations of Joe Marshall and Sonia Melara to the board’s Rules Committee. The committee had approved the nominations previously, but they were spurned by the full board at its meeting on Tuesday, leaving the commission without enough members to hold a meeting.
“Joe and Sonia are both longtime advocates for public safety, civil rights and responsible police oversight practices,” Farrell said in a statement. “By resubmitting Joe and Sonia, I hope the Board of Supervisors can quickly approve these two highly qualified re-appointments immediately after the June 5 election.”
Both Marshall and Melara had served on the Police Commission, the police department’s policy-setting body, for years, and some supervisors thought the time had come for a shakeup.
Supervisor Malia Cohen said she respected Marshall and Melera’s years of service, but said they lacked the “strong leadership and vision” necessary to steer the police department at a particularly crucial juncture. Marshall and Melara have also been criticized as being too close to the Police Officers Association union, which has sparred with the commission in the past.
Others, like Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, said she thought the city’s next mayor should be allowed to make the appointments, rather than Farrell, who will leave office in July.
The commission is in the process of establishing the police department’s policy on the use of Tasers and implementing the 272 reform recommendations handed down by the U.S. Department of Justice after a series of police shootings.
The board has two commission picks of its own to make, and the Rules Committee is expected to begin vetting candidates next week. The board’s selections could be approved this month, which would give the commission a quorum in time for its first June meeting.
But Farrell said he thinks that at such a pivotal moment for the police department, the commission should be fully staffed as soon as possible.
“The residents of this city deserve and are entitled to a fully seated Police Commission to continue the vital work of overseeing reform measures, hearing police disciplinary cases and monitoring training for Tasers,” Farrell said. “At this crucial juncture in our reform efforts, the lack of a full Police Commission is a disservice to the people of San Francisco.”