Mayor Todd Gloria appoints next Chief of Police

SAN DIEGO – Following an extensive national search and interview process that included vetting by community and law enforcement leaders, Mayor Todd Gloria announced on Friday, March 22 that he is appointing current Assistant Chief Scott Wahl to be the next Chief of Police for the San Diego Police Department.

“The City of San Diego is one of the safest big cities in America – and, as Mayor, it is my highest priority to keep it that way,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “Assistant Chief Wahl shares my commitment to ensure every San Diegan in every neighborhood is safe, while also bringing about the necessary changes to the Department in order the build trust and meet our community’s expectations of today. As a 25-year veteran of SDPD, I know he is up to the job, and that’s why I am proud to appoint him as our next Police Chief.”

Wahl is a current Assistant Chief with the San Diego Police Department, overseeing Special Projects and Legislative Affairs. In this role, he is responsible for implementing federal, state, and local legislative changes throughout the organization. He served as the department’s spokesperson for three years, boosting transparency and giving a voice to police initiatives in the community. As captain of Northern Division, which includes some of the city’s largest coastal communities, he worked collaboratively with community groups to reduce gun violence and residential burglaries.

Wahl helped launch the department’s Neighborhood Policing Division, which handles some of the city’s most challenging issues such as homelessness, mental illness and drug addiction.

“I am honored by the trust our Mayor, Todd Gloria, has put in me to lead the San Diego Police Department. I look forward to working collaboratively with him, the City Council, and our community to ensure public safety and a better quality of life for all,” said Assistant Chief Scott Wahl. “Together, we will build a department that is reflective of our city and worthy of your trust and collaboration.”

Building trust and legitimacy among community members, reinvesting in leadership development for police employees and streamlining the department’s organizational model to improve efficiency and effectiveness are among his first priorities.

Wahl, a lifelong resident of San Diego, is the son of a San Diego police officer. He and his wife, Stephanie, have four children.

Mayor Gloria’s appointment of Assistant Chief Wahl comes following an extensive recruitment process that began in November 2023. It consisted of community forums in each of the nine City Council Districts (plus an online survey), a national search, and vetting by 21 community leaders of the finalists. The recruitment effort netted a total of 56 applicants.

Mayor Gloria announced the appointment of Assistant Chief Wahl as the city’s next Chief of Police at a press conference on Friday at San Diego City Hall. He was joined by City Council President Pro Tem Joe LaCava, City Councilmember and Chair of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee Marni von Wilpert, City Councilmember Jennifer Campbell, Chief Operating Officer Eric Dargan, and current Chief of Police David Nisleit.

Assistant Chief Wahl is being appointed to succeed Chief David Nisleit, who will retire in June after 36 years of service to the San Diego Police Department.

At the conclusion of the press conference, Mayor Gloria sent a memo to the City Council informing them of his appointment of Assistant Chief Wahl as the next Chief of Police. In accordance with Council Policy 300-08, the City Council is required to convene a Committee of the Whole at which the mayor will officially present his appointment to the Committee, which consists of the full City Council. This will allow the City Council to interview Assistant Chief Wahl for the position of Chief of Police as well as receive public comment. Following the Committee of the Whole, the City Council will docket the mayor’s appointment of a Chief of Police for a vote.

(City of SD Release) n

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