(San Francisco, California) The San Francisco Police Commission has elected openly-transgender Commissioner Theresa Sparks as its new President.
Sparks, who joined the commission in 2004, has a long history of advocating for the transgender community, including working on a set of transgender-specific policy reforms adopted by the Police Commission in 2003.
Her election as President makes Sparks the city’s first openly transgender head of a major commission in San Francisco and likely the city’s highest ranking transgender official.
"I feel honored to have been selected for this position by my fellow commissioners," said Sparks in a statement.
"While I think it is important to recognize the historic step they've taken to make San Francisco a city in which everyone, regardless of our gender identity, can meaningfully contribute, I am thrilled for this opportunity to represent all of the people of San Francisco."
Sparks said that she wants to lead the Commission towards more fully realizing the police reforms endorsed by voters in 2003.
Prop H was a city initiative that passed in the fall 2003 election. It ushered in reforms to the Police Commission to improve citizen oversight of the San Francisco Police Department.
Among other things, it expanded the size of the commission, including expanding the number of Commissioners appointed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Sparks joined the larger commission in 2004 as an appointee of the Board of Supervisors.
Sparks election has not been without controversy. It led to the resignation of the current President, Louise Renne, who had backed Mayor Gavin Newsom's chosen candidate, Commissioner Joe Marshall.