Denise Flaherty

Profile photo of Assistant Chief Flaherty
Assistant Chief
Chief of Staff

Assistant Chief Denise Flaherty was born and raised in San Francisco’s Mission District and is a fourth-generation San Franciscan.  Joining the SFPD in 1991 she has proudly served the City of San Francisco for over 30 years.  She rose through the ranks promoting to Inspector, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Commander, Deputy Chief, and most recently to her current rank of Assistant Chief.  She worked in a variety of assignments including Northern, Tenderloin, Ingleside, and Taraval Stations, as well as the Narcotics Unit and Burglary Detail.  Assistant Chief Flaherty has served as the commanding officer of the Traffic Enforcement Division, Homeland Security Unit, Taraval Station, and the Training Division.  In 2019, she was promoted to the rank of Commander and oversaw the SFPD Airport Administration.  In 2022, she was promoted to the rank of Deputy Chief where she served as the Deputy Chief of the Administration Bureau. 

Assistant Chief Flaherty was selected by Chief William Scott as one of the executive sponsors to oversee the implementation of the 272 recommendations covering objectives for reform that were issued by the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office in 2016. While at the SFPD Academy, she was also instrumental in creating the “Critical Mindset, Coordinated Response” training platform. 

Assistant Chief Flaherty is a graduate of Leadership San Francisco and was instrumental in developing the San Francisco Police Department’s Leadership Development Institute, leadership education for SFPD’s sworn members, and professional staff designed to enhance department leadership at every level.  Assistant Chief Flaherty understands the many challenges women face in the policing profession. She uses her 30 years of experience and works tirelessly to mentor and provide leadership not just for the women, but all members of the Department.