Critics: Police chief recruitment process not transparent enough - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Critics: Police chief recruitment process not transparent enough

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — The search for the city's top cop is underway and already the process has gained its critics. 

In a news conference Wednesday morning, the ACLU along with other civil rights groups criticized the mayor's plan to replace chief Shelley Zimmerman who will step down in March. 

Critics say only four community input meetings in September aren't enough; and they want them in all districts including in neighborhoods that are racially diverse and in areas they believe people are targets of racial profiling by police. 

The city said they will also post an online survey. 

Zimmerman was appointed by the mayor in 2014 and is scheduled to step down in March because of a deferred retirement program. 

Also at issue is this so-called "secretive panel" that will assist the national search for a chief. 

The city says it will not release who was on the panel until after the chief is named. Critics say that can't be trusted. 

"My fear is that the process will go as planned. The mayor and will continue to create that division and not really seize that opportunity to strengthen trust," said Norma Chavez-Peterson, Local Executive Director, ACLU.   

The City’s Communications Director Katie Keach released the following statement in response to criticisms:  

“San Diegans have a critical role to play in helping to recruit the next police chief. Their comments will inform the rest of this process. Through community forums and an online survey, we will use their input to target recruitment efforts when evaluating applicants’ experience, education and skills and to create interview questions. Their priorities will guide the selection process of the top candidate chosen by the Mayor and final confirmation by the City Council.” 

The forums are scheduled for: 

-- Sept. 21, Standley Recreation Center, 3585 Governor Drive; 
-- Sept. 23, Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, 404 Euclid Ave.; 
-- Sept. 26, Mira Mesa Senior Center, 8460 Mira Mesa Blvd.; and 
-- St. Paul's Cathedral, 2728 Sixth Ave. 

The mayor plans to name a chief at the end of January.  

For more information on the City of San Diego's recruitment process click here


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