Acting San Francisco police Chief Toney Chaplin received a raucous reception Sunday during the local NAACP meeting at Third Baptist Church in San Francisco.
Chaplin was invited to the meeting by the Rev. Amos Brown, director of the San Francisco branch of the NAACP. Members of the Frisco Five also attended the meeting.
Brown said Sunday that the NAACP has been working in a "very focused and deliberate way" since last April to address violence and crime in the entire San Francisco community and that Chaplin has been at the table from day one and every step of the way in that effort.
"San Francisco is a diverse city and we want our ranks to reflect that," Chaplin said. "I look out and see some young faces in the crowd, and that's how we win this, by getting them to sit where I'm at right now with this uniform on. Because you cannot change anything from the outside looking in."
Chaplin took over for former Chief Greg Suhr last week after Suhr resigned in the wake of an officer-involved shooting that killed a 29-year-old African-American woman. It was the third fatal officer-involved shooting in San Francisco since December.
In Chaplin's first address to the media on Friday, he stressed reforms such as body cameras for officers, re-examining the department's use-of-force policies and community outreach. He reiterated much of the community outreach aspect on Sunday.
"We have mothers in here who have lost their children," he said. "That's not going to be solved if there's a wall between the police department and the community. That's got to come down. And hopefully, I'm going to be the person to start moving those bricks."
Shawn Richard, NAACP San Francisco's vice president and executive director of Brothers Against Guns, was also on hand and said he was very impressed with the new chief's ideas and plans. He said Chaplin has a solid track record with no hiccups and is honest, compassionate and direct.
Chaplin worked for more than two decades at the Mission and Tavaral stations on the department's gang task force. He told the gathering he's determined to get the San Francisco Police Department to a better place in everyone's eyes.
"I'm not going to let anything sway us from the path we’re on," Chaplin said. "And that's to changing things and getting us to a place where we are all happy and all understand the police are here to help you, that they’re guardians of the community."
Brown offered words of support for outgoing Chief Suhr, saying it was a mistake to blame one person for the department's troubles.