LOS ANGELES – LAPD Deputy Chief William “Bill” Scott, currently the department’s highest-ranking African American officer, has been appointed chief of the San Francisco Police Department following recent scandals involving racist texting among Bay Area officers, reported the Los Angeles Times.
Scott was selected by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to take the department forward. He currently oversees LAPD’s South Bureau.
“It’s an honor and I am humbled,” Scott said in a brief message. “I have a lot of people to give thanks to.”
Scott’s was one of three candidates recommended by the police commission to Lee. Scott will replace acting Police Chief Toney Chaplin, a 26-year department veteran who previously led the department’s homicide division. It is unknown what Chaplin’s role will be in the future.
Former Police Chief Greg Suhr stepped down in May at the request of the mayor following a series of scandals that rocked the department.
The improprieties included dozens of racist text messages among officers, civil rights violations involving unlawful searches, and other discriminatory acts according to the LA Times.
Scott joined the LAPD in 1989. He was a young officer in the San Fernando Valley on the day the 1992 riots broke out and was immediately sent to South Los Angeles, where he previously worked.
Scott grew up as an Army Brat moving from one destination to another, until his family settled in Birmingham, Alabama. Scott was part of the Crimson Tide as he attended the University of Alabama.
He is known as an advocate of community policing and has said policing has changed dramatically for the better since his days as a rookie. Scott believes that officers need to think of themselves as guardians watching over communities — not warriors cracking down on them.
“That means if we’ve got to take somebody to jail, we’ll take them to jail,” Scott said. “But when we need to be empathetic and we need to be human, we’ve got to do that too.”