Reported Dean E. Murphy (The New York Times, March5, 2003), police department indictment rattled San Francisco. Prentice E. Sanders, the police chief, was on medical disability. Ten members of the police department including the chief were indicted and pleaded not guilty on March 4. Mayor Willoie L. Brown, Jr. named Heather J. Fong acting assistant police chief in charge of the 2,300 officer department.
Fong, born and raised in San Francisco, holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of San Francisco and a Master's Degree in Social Work from San Francisco State University. Sworn in as a Police Officer in 1977, she has worked her way through the ranks. As a bilingual officer, She was assigned to be the liaison between the police and the Chinese community. Her position, along with the other officers in that division, was the first step towards community policing. As Captain of the Central Station, Fong worked in a high profile district with stakeholders groups from Fisherman's Wharf to Union Square including the North Beach Neighborhood Coalition. In June 2000, she was promoted to Deputy Chief and she has been assigned to the Field Operations Bureau, and oversees all of the uniformed personnel in the San Francisco Police Department. Fong has always been a big proponent of community involvement in crime prevention and she is highly respected by members of the community and other police officers alike. In celebrating 10 years of service to San Francisco's multicultural neighborhoods, Neighborhoods In Transition: A Multi-cultural Partnership (NIT-AMP), honored her as one of the four community leaders for their outstanding efforts in building a safer San Francisco.