SF mayor names 37-year veteran as city’s top cop

The Associated Press
Friday July 12, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO — A former homicide detective was named San Francisco’s top law enforcement officer Thursday, replacing a chief who had come under harsh criticism for failing to solve enough of the city’s violent crimes. 

Mayor Willie Brown named Assistant Police Chief Earl Sanders to the post, replacing Fred Lau who stepped down to take a job in airport security. Lau’s decision came after a newspaper reported the department has a dismal record of solving, or even investigating, violent crimes. 

Sanders, a 37-year veteran, spent nearly three decades investigating homicides, according to a spokesman for Brown. 

“We have built this together,” Sanders said of the department. “I know the exact size of the shoes. I know they’re tough to fill, but I am ready to meet that challenge.” 

Brown also named Alex Fagan, captain at the city’s Northern Station, as assistant chief. 

The city’s police commissioners unanimously approved the appointments Thursday evening. 

Sanders and Fagan will start on the job Friday on Lau’s last day.