SAN DIEGO – Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer said Wednesday that he plans to name Assistant Chief Shelley Zimmerman to succeed Chief Bill Lansdowne, who is set to retire Monday after 10 years heading the San Diego Police Department.
Zimmerman, 54, has been with the San Diego department for 31 years. She is a graduate of Ohio State University. She will be the first woman to be chief in department history.
Her selection was immediately praised by Acting Mayor Todd Gloria, Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis, City Council members and the police officers union.
Faulconer said that in her years with the department, Zimmerman “has done it all.” He said she has experience with budgeting, narcotics, vice, undercover work and, for the last few years, “has been the face of the department.”
Zimmerman was also the driver and bodyguard for Mayor Maureen O’Connor, who served in the late 1980s and early '90s.
Faulconer’s announcement comes just one day after Lansdowne, 69, announced that he is retiring from the department, which has 1,856 sworn officers.
Just minutes before Faulconer announced Zimmerman’s promotion, she was testifying in front of the City Council’s public safety and livable neighborhoods committee.
Faulconer said he believes that the department has done excellent work in recent years.
“I’m determined to make it the best department in the country,” he said.
Under the City Charter, the mayor submits a police chief nomination to the council, where five votes are needed for confirmation.
Faulconer said he expects Zimmerman to be confirmed as early as next week.
Faulconer was elected to fill the final 33 months of Bob Filner’s term as mayor and is set to be sworn in Monday.
Faulconer said he supports the idea of asking the U.S. Department of Justice to audit the Police Department in the wake of two recent cases where officers have been accused of abusing women while on duty.