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San Diego Leaders React To Appointment Of New Police Chief David Nisleit

San Diego police Capt. David Nisleit briefs reporters about a string of attacks on homeless men, July 7, 2016.
Nicholas McVicker
San Diego police Capt. David Nisleit briefs reporters about a string of attacks on homeless men, July 7, 2016.

The San Diego Police Department announced Thursday the appointment of David Nisleit as the next chief of police.

Nisleit has been with the department for 35 years and currently serves as one of the department’s assistant chiefs. He will succeed Chief Shelley Zimmerman who has served in the post for four years.

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Council members David Alvarez, Chris Cate and Mark Kersey reacted via Twitter.

San Diego Councilmember Scott Sherman issued the following statement:

“While I am saddened that the exceptional and distinguished leadership of Chief Shelley Zimmerman is coming to an end, I was excited to learn of the appointment of David Nisleit. As a life-long San Diegan with an accomplished 30-year career, he is the right choice to lead America’s Finest Police Force.”

San Diego Councilwoman Lorie Zapf said the following regarding Nisleit's appointment:

“I want to publicly congratulate David Nisleit for being selected San Diego’s Chief of Police. As a native san Diegan, he is uniquely qualified to serve and understand our diverse communities. I also want to congratulate all that were involved in the community panels, they clearly made the right choice. I look forward to working closely with Police Chief Nisleit to improve and make our neighborhoods safe for everyone.”

Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry said in a statement:

"I am grateful to everyone who served on the selection committee for the new police chief, and I look forward to learning more about Assistant Chief Nisleit and his public safety priorities at the upcoming Council confirmation hearings."

KPBS News reached out to Councilmember Georgette Gómez regarding the appointment. A spokesman for Gómez's office said they did not have a comment at this time.


Councilmember Gómez represent San Diego's 9th District, which includes City Heights. The neighborhood has been the site of several protests against police in the past.

Assemblyman and former San Diego Councilman Todd Gloria issued the following statement:

“Assistant Chief Dave Nisleit and I have worked together for years. He is hardworking, honest, and fair. I trust him and believe that he will do an excellent job as San Diego’s next chief of police. I have spoken with Dave and he is committed to being a chief of police that collaborates with the community, seeks neighborhood input, and builds partnerships with stakeholders. In addition, I believe he will have the support of the Department’s rank and file which is critical for boosting morale, filling vacant positions, and taking the Department to the next level.The City Council was right to conduct a national search. That search has yielded an excellent candidate deserving of the City Council’s confirmation. I look forward to continuing to work with him in the years ahead.”

Jack Schaeffer, President of the San Diego Police Officers Association, released the following statement:

"Mayor Faulconer hit a home run with this appointment. Assistant Chief Nisleit has had an exemplary career with our department, has deep roots in our community, and will be a tremendous leader for our members. During the course of his 30-year career, Nisleit has built important relationships throughout our department and understands the unique needs of San Diego neighborhoods.

"In addition, we know he is committed to resolving the staffing crisis our police department currently faces. For several years, Nisleit has been working alongside Shelly Zimmerman to address this issue and we know he is dedicated to rebuilding our department."
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story quoted Sean Elo, of Mid City CAN, Community Advocacy Network, quoting a representative on the community panel that interviewed the six finalists. However, Laura Baeza had signed a non-disclosure agreement regarding the interview process, so we have since removed her comment.
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