Deputy Chief Heather Fong has been named Acting Chief of the San Francisco Police Department in the wake of the grand jury indictments of Chief Earl Sanders and other top command staff for alleged cover-up of a November 2002 citizen assault perpetrated by three off-duty officers. All of the ten officers indicted in the San Francisco brutality and cover-up case are male.
Acting Chief Heather Wong is a 25-year veteran of the department, and was one of San Francisco’s first female police officers. Wong joins a small number of underrepresented women in law enforcement’s top command. Despite more than thirty years of gains for women in the field, women still only comprise 7.3% of top command positions and 9.6% of supervisory positions. A study by the National Center for Women & Policing found that the lack of women at all levels of law enforcement exacerbates police brutality. In the seven big city police departments surveyed, male officers were over eight-and-a-half times more likely than female officers to have an allegation of excessive force sustained against him. “Agencies just don’t realize that increasing the number of women is the simplest way to reducing police brutality. San Francisco’s taken a step in the right direction by appointing a woman to lead them out of this crisis,” said NCWP Director Margaret Moore, one of the highest-ranking sworn women ever to have served in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms.