Monday, November 29, 2010

San Leandro Names Its First Female Police Chief

By Steven Tavares

Sandra Spagnoli will become San Leandro's first female police chief, the city announced Monday, replacing the retiring Ian Willis. Spagnoli, who spent the past four years as head of the Benicia police department, will begin her tenure Jan. 10.

Sandra Spagnoli
“I am extremely honored to be selected as San Leandro's next police chief,” said Spagnoli. "I am committed to building on the existing traditions of excellence and working in partnership with the community to continue to enhance levels of service, safety and security.”

San Leandro City Manager Stephen Hollister said Spagnoli impressed community leaders and hiring panels and is confident she will uphold the city reputation for public safety.

The selection of Spagnoli comes three months after current Police Chief Ian Willis announced his retirement. She becomes San Leandro's 10th police chief and first female chief in its history. She is also the city's third chief in as many years, following Dale Attarian and Willis.

Rumors of Hollister's preference in hiring a female for the post has persisted for months after the police department waded in a spate of sexual harrassment suits, led by a complaint by seven female police officers against the a male officer and implicating then-chief Attarian. Four of the seven plaintiffs settled with the city last year for $405,000, while the last three with potenitally larger monetary settlements have yet to be resolved. (Read 'Women do not belong in police work' - May 17, 2010.)

Spagnoli , 43, became a police officer in 1990 and spent the past four years as head of the Benicia Police Department after spending time with the San Carlos police force. She began her stint in San Carlos at age 16 as a police explorer before taking the top job in Benicia in 2007. Spagnoli takes over a department in San Leandro which is more than double the size of Benicia's 37 officers. Benicia's police force also lacks a single female officer among its ranks.


  1. Good luck to her! San Leandro is a lot more ghetto than Benecia with a lot more thugs, drugs and guns.

  2. Let's hope she was hired for her abilities and not for public relations. She has a big sh** storm to clean up in San Leandro.

  3. Let's see, she's 43, which means she will be chief for 7 years and retire. Oh, oh, let me guess, she lives in Castro Valley, too.

  4. She'll probably continue to live in Benecia. Big Deal, another affirmative action hack, but at least she's from outside the department. Doesn't really matter, she's only looking for a pension like the rest.

  5. I welcome and congratulate our 1st female Police Chief and wish her the very best in making our City safer. It is going to be quite the task and I hope she is up for it. It's not easy dealing with the lovely "people" who visit our fair city from the special city to our north as well as our own local "treasures"!

  6. And shes Italian?

    Time to bust some heads!

  7. The lawsuits have been settled.

  8. I heard from a friend today that she gave her a speeding ticket in San Carlos for doing 36 in a 30 zone...SL residents...be prepared for speed traps, this is the fourth person to tell me this.

    Poster child or fiscally conservative?

  9. Nick, speeding is speeding. The bigger issue is whether she lives in San Leandro. Hiring someone from outside is wrong wrong wrong.

  10. Well kinda needed to hire a chief from outside with the culture that has cost the city a bundle in pay outs.
    The odds of someone not on the SL Police force actually living here is probably very small!
    Hopefully the city manager got a promise she would move to town but since he moved to Castro Valley after getting his big buck job tough to ask.

  11. I guarantee you, you go over the speed limit like 99% of the population...its revenue...its a quota that all cops will say they dont have until you know them personally then they'll admit...its called over achiever with a Napoleon complex. Is it legal for a cop to talk on his/her cell phone while driving (dont argue emergency, they have radios since they had cars)...is it legal or moral for a cop to flip on his lights to get past a red light then flip them off (I see it way to much).

    As for her residency...I agreed with that once but realize its a battle not worth fighting as few cops and fire live in the city they work in and we can't change that.

  12. Nick, it actually is legal for cops to talk on their cell phone. Look it up, it is part of the exceptions.

    Speeding is still speeding and it is revenue. The solution is to slow down. Cops that break the law will get busted down if you complain. Of course you need to be right.

    As for not fighting the battle of insisting on residency for all city employees, well it is just plain wrong. Cops and firefighters who live outside of San Leandro should be challenged legally to live within the city. If they choose not to, there are going to be many more employees in the city, we will have fewer expenses and pensions to worry about we will end up with a city that represents itself more equitably.

  13. Nick, if she's Italian, Good Lord, didn't we have enough with Jack Maltester???

  14. It shouldnt be legal, there shouldnt be exceptions...especially if they are checking facebook...I guess I need to be brave enough to snap a picture.