Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Politics & Govt
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Published on April 19, 2024
Hon. Don Clay - Distinguished Judicial Veteran with 20+ Years of Service to Bay Area Courts - Nominated to SF Police CommissionSource: Alameda County

San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed is shaking up the Police Commission with two major nominations. Yesterday, Breed put forward retired Alameda County Judge C. Don Clay to join the ranks of the commission alongside a reappointment of established community leader Debra Walker. The pair are set for the seven-member body that oversees the Police Department and the Department of Police Accountability and holds the reins when it comes to disciplinary hearings involving cops.

Judge Clay, stepping into the shoes of outgoing Police Commissioner Jim Byrne, boasts over two decades on the bench and a tenure as a Special Master to California's Commission on Judicial Performance right up until March. His resume also includes a stretch as the First Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of California. According to an official statement, Clay is "honored to be nominated" and eager to "continue my public service on this vital and important Commission." On the flip side, Byrne, a native San Franciscan with Irish roots, leaves behind a career focused on immigration law and a long history of pro bono work.

Walker, an artist and seasoned voice in the San Francisco community scene, has been at the helm of the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club and served on the San Francisco Arts Democratic Club. Her return to the commission comes with a commitment to fostering effective community partnerships to bolster public safety. “I have been honored to serve on the Police Commission for the past year and half, and I have worked hard to help set the Police Department on a course to better and more effective policing,” Walker told the city’s news outlet.

The nominations now sit in the hands of the Board of Supervisors, waiting for a stamp of approval to seal the deal. Mayor Breed's push for reform is crystal clear with these candidates as the city grapples with public safety and police policy. And, as she bids farewell to Byrne, she notes his efforts in reducing crime, boosting officer morale and recruitment, and checking off the boxes of the Department of Justice's 272 reforms. Judge Clay's width of experience stretches from minor misdemeanors to serious felonies, bringing a hefty legal background to the table.