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Fast-track swearing-in for new police chief

Shelley Zimmerman was sworn in on Tuesday as San Diego's first female police chief after receiving unanimous approval from the City Council.

Zimmerman, who joined the San Diego Police Department in 1982, shortly after her graduation from Ohio State University, was universally praised for her breadth of experience, ranging from working undercover on narcotics and vice cases to drafting budgets, providing public testimony and meeting with community groups.

Nevertheless, some speakers at the meeting -- even while saying she would make an excellent police chief -- suggested she may have been chosen too hastily. Mayor Kevin Faulconer picked Zimmerman just one day after Bill Landsdowne announced his retirement after 10 years in the office.

Proponents of more open government at the meeting -- including the American Civil Liberties Union -- suggested that the city should have conducted a nationwide search for the job opening and should have had community meetings regarding the hiring decision to ensure that the public had a say.

City Councilmember Scott Sherman disagreed, praising Faulconer for such a rapid decision. "A lot of times people want to form committees and blue ribbon commissions when decisive action is needed," he said.

But Council President Todd Gloria said the city should have spent more time on the process, if only to show that Zimmerman was the best person for the job and to allow her more interaction with the public.

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City of San Diego

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San Diego, CA 92101

City of San Diego Executive(s):

Sherri Lightner

  • Council President Pro Tem

Kevin Faulconer

  • Mayor

Todd Gloria

  • Council President

Myrtle Cole

  • City Council Member

Mark Kersey

  • City Council Member

Lorie Zapf

  • City Council Member

Scott Sherman

  • City Council Member

David Alvarez

  • City Council Member

Marti Emerald

  • City Council Member

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