Mesa PD union: Chief's departure 'unfortunate'

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MESA -- The Mesa police union says the departure of the city's police chief is "extremely unfortunate."

Mesa looking for new chief

Mesa police chief Gascon leaving Arizona? - One of the most vocal opponents of Sheriff Joe Apaio's crime suppression sweeps is looking to leave Arizona.

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Various media sources report that Mesa police Chief George Gascon will be leaving the city to become chief of police in San Francisco.

Mesa Police Association President Sgt. Fabian Cota said "whatever the circumstances are to the reasons why he chose to apply in another city, it is a big loss for the citizens of Mesa."

Cota said the rank-and-file and Gascon worked hard to reduce crime in Mesa.

Mesa Fraternal Order of Police president Bryan Soller tells an Arizona that Gascon had informed him that he had accepted the San Francisco job.

Gascon has been Mesa's police chief since 2006 and served as an assistant police chief in Los Angeles before joining Mesa police.

Mayor Gavin Newsom told the San Francisco Chronicle Tuesday that Gascon is a "nuts-and-bolts-type of chief, a cop's cop and very active in community policing."

Mesa police issued a statement Tuesday evening saying Gascon was not confirming the appointment.

An official statement from Gascon was expected Wednesday.

The Mesa Mayor Scott Smith issued this statement:

"The City of Mesa is fortunate to have had George Gascn serve as Police Chief over the past three years. Under his leadership the Mesa Police Department has achieved a new level of professionalism and has significantly reduced violent crimes.He has been a great asset not only to our community but to the entire East Valley. His successful efforts in community policing and enhanced regional cooperation have been exemplary. He has helped to establish a solid foundation in our public safety efforts that we hope to build upon after he leaves.We wish him the best of luck as he begins his new endeavors in San Francisco."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

ORIGINAL STORY: Mesa police chief Gascon leaving Arizona? (May 14, 2009)

MESA -- One of the most vocal opponents of Sheriff Joe Apaio's crime suppression sweeps is looking to leave Arizona.

Mesa Police Chief George Gascon has applied to be the police chief in San Francisco. The current chief there, Heather Fong, is retiring soon.

A spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department said all of the applications have been reviewed. The top three recommendations will be presented to the city's mayor.

Gascon came to Mesa from Los Angeles in 2006. He's recently made headlines for his outspoken criticism of Arpaio and his controversial crime suppression sweeps. Earlier this year, Gascon went to Washington, D.C. to testify against the federal program, 287g, that Arpaio cites in his operations.