The San Francisco Fire Department has removed the head of its arson task force after he voiced repeated public complaints that the unit was understaffed and overwhelmed by hundreds of uncompleted investigations.
The department confirms that acting Capt. John Darmanin was reassigned, but declined to comment on why the change was made.
Darmanin said in an interview that he's being punished for speaking out about staffing problems he says have led to a growing backlog of incomplete arson investigations. Darmanin said the backlog -- which the department acknowledged earlier this year included about 300 cases dating back to 2010 -- has grown to about 400 incidents.
"Without a doubt I was pushed out," Darmanin said. "The department told me to stop asking for additional staffing."
"My refusal to stay silent, my insistence that we get additional staffing, my comments that I made in a public forum at the Fire Commission meetings in recent months, were not well received," Darmanin said.