SAN FRANCISCO—The California Department of Justice announced on Thursday, May 16, the release of the first report on the San Francisco Police Department’s progress on Collaborative Reform, which has the Department’s efforts to review and limit officer use of force, identify and address bias, and enhance community policing, transparency and accountability.
“San Francisco invited the U.S. Department Justice in for an independent review of our police department in 2016, which led to 272 recommendations for reform,” said Mayor London Breed. “SFPD has made significant progress towards changing policies and culture that will ultimately lead to greater trust between law enforcement and our diverse communities. There is still much more work ahead, and we are committed to fulfilling each and every reform recommendation and to meeting the high expectations our residents have for our police department.”
The SFPD indicated in a press release that after the U.S. Department of Justice’s withdrawal from the Collaborative Reform process in 2017, the Police Department requested last year that the California Department of Justice offer an independent evaluation of the police department’s ongoing reform efforts. The SFPD continued its work during this transition period, requested and received new, detailed and extra stringent performance standards from the CA DOJ, and began a wholesale reexamination of reform work previously submitted to the US DOJ for approval.
Under the new process, 63 of 272 original US DOJ recommendations- including ones focusing on Use of Force, Bias and Accountability- were prioritized for review, with 11 marked as complete by the CA DOJ. As a result, the Phase 1 – Initial Progress Report finds “SFPD is better positioned to achieve successful transformation now and in the future.”
“The California Department of Justice brought to the reform process more cohesive, specific and transparent performance standards which we are applying to our work accomplished under the original CRI,” said Chief William Scott. “This will provide a critical, independent eye to measure our transformation over the coming years. This report identifies key challenges ahead, but we’ve already made significant progress. Through this collaboration with CA DOJ, we will provide more accountability to the public and ensure our success is sustainable.”
Since initiating Collaborative Reform in 2016, SFPD has:
-Reduced the use of force by 30 percent;
-Provided all patrols officers with at least 10 hours of Crisis Intervention Team field tactics training, with half of the department completing CIT course certification;
-Instituted audits of department computers, emails and phones for biased language;
-Begun its first external audit of use of force data, led by the San Francisco Controller’s office on behalf of the Department of Police Accountability
-Finalized a Memorandum of Understanding enabling the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office to serve as lead investigator of officer-involved shootings, increasing accountability in the process;
-Mandated implicit bias training for sworn officers to help ensure fair and impartial community policing;
-Created a comprehensive community policing strategic plan to guide the department’s practices and values;
-Developed its first Department General Order that specifically deals with gender inclusivity;
-Elevated its citywide foot beat presence, driving down incidents of car break-ins and simple assault, while developing and improving relationships with community members
To review the Phase 1 – Initial Progress Report, visit www.oag.ca.gov/system/files/attachments/press-docs/hillard-heintze-initial-progress-report-sfpd-phase-i.pdf. To learn more information about SFPD’s Collaborative Reform work, visit sanfranciscopolice.org/your-sfpd/explore-department/professional-standards.
Written By Casey Jacobs