Assistant Chief Toney Chaplin was born in Oklahoma, grew up in the cities of Muskogee and San Francisco, and graduated from Mission High School in San Francisco. While serving in the military, he witnessed how first responders helped people during natural disasters. A wish to be of similar use led to his joining the SFPD academy in 1990. After completing his field-training program at Central Station, Toney returned to the military to serve in Operation Desert Storm. On his return, he was assigned as a patrol officer in the Central, Mission and Taraval districts. From 1994 to 1996 he worked as an investigator in the Narcotics Detail on the Street Enforcement Team, and from 1999 through 2012 he was promoted to an inspector and then sergeant while assigned to the Gang Task Force. In 2012, he was promoted to lieutenant and assigned as a patrol watch commander at Northern Station. In 2014 he returned to his investigative roots, as head of the Homicide Division.
In 2015 he served as the commander of investigations, after which, one year later, he became deputy chief of the newly established Bureau of Professional Standards and Principled Policing Services. In May of 2016, Mayor Ed Lee tapped Toney to lead the department as interim chief while the city conducted a nationwide search to replace retiring Chief Greg Suhr. In January 2017 he was appointed Assistant Chief of Operations, entailing oversight of the Airport Field Operations Bureau which polices the entire San Francisco International Airport, the Special Operations Bureau which includes the Traffic Company, the Tactical Company, the Homeland Security Unit, and the Urban Area Security Initiative, and the Field Operations Bureau, the largest bureau in the department, which includes Metro Division, Golden Gate Division, the Community Engagement Division and the Investigations Bureau. Toney holds an undergraduate degree in Organization Leadership from Colorado State University.