SAN FRANCISCO—The city of San Francisco has alloted $17.5 million in investments and is directing it toward comprehensive police reforms and violence prevention with the intent of strengthening trust between law enforcement and the community.
Mayor Edwin M. Lee announced on Tuesday, May 10 that the reform package will practice increased oversight, transparency and accountability, and include violence prevention programming into the Mayor’s Fiscal Years 2016-17 and 2017-18 proposed balance budgets.
“Rebuilding the relationship of trust between community members and this Police Department will require sustained investments in new training, resources to improve oversight and an investment in the neighborhoods most impacted by violence,” said Police Commission President Suzy Loftus in a press release from the Mayor’s Office. “These resources will allow us to continue our critical work to build a 21st Century Police Department.”
Earlier this year, Mayor Lee proposed the comprehensive package which is intended to make the department more responsive, transparent, and accountable.
As a result of the Mario Woods shooting last December, Mayor Lee directed the Police Commission and Department to develop a plan that would generally re-engineer the way police officers use force.
The reform implements a wide range of efforts that are expected to inspire change, including: The creation of a new Bureau of Professional Standards & Principled Policing, major expansions to the Crisis Intervention Team network, new prohibitions on the use of firearms in specific circumstances, a new Community Safety Initiative to recruit young people from San Francisco neighborhoods most impacted by violence to work with the Department to improve community trust.
Mayor Lee plans to invest $11.3 million to increase programing for violence prevention and strengthening crisis response and outreach teams over the next two years.
Around $7.3 million of the $11.3 million investment will offer pathways and permanent employment opportunities to high-risk young adults by expanding the successful IPO Employment Program to serve individuals up to age 35 – the program provides the high-risk young adult community with employment opportunities coupled with educational, behavioral health, and barrier removal services to develop a strong workforce.
As a result of the fact that violence prone neighborhoods suffer higher rates of homicides and shootings, the budget will include an increase of 20 percent that will be directed toward the city of San Francisco’s crisis response system over the next two years expanding the ability to provide critical services.
The reform aims to build capacity especially in impacted communities – the upcoming budget will fund the creation and operation of the African-American Violence Prevention Collaborative to ensure communities of color are at the forefront of the service, providing insight and guidance.
New policies and initiatives will train officers that proportionality is key in decision making – emphasizing that when using force and enforcing policies, the sanctity of life must be at the center of every decision.
The goal is ultimately to reduce up to 80 percent of officer involved shootings by training officers and equipping them with the tools they need.
The package includes an investment of $4.4 million that will be directed toward the San Francisco Police Department for training, equipment and other needs – redeveloped training for police officers will focus on implicit bias, cultural competency, and crisis intervention and it will continue to enhance the existing police reforms underway.
San Francisco will invest $2.5 million during the next two fiscal years to fund new equipment that will encourage the use of less-lethal options for the San Francisco Police Department – equipment includes: piloting defensive shields, net guns, tasers, beanbag guns, and defibrillators.
The $2.5 million will additionally be used to grow and develop the department’s Body Camera Program over the next two years, which will equip every patrol officer with a body worn camera.
Around $1.8 million of the package will fund the hiring of new staff for the Office of Citizen Complaints – personnel will increase by five investigators, which increases the size of the investigative force by 25 percent and will reduce the median caseload per investigator.
The added staff will ensure a timely and thorough response upon any additional mandates passed by the voters to investigate all officer-involved shootings.