May 26, 2024

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MAYOR LONDON BREED & POLICE CHIEF WILLIAM SCOTT ANNOUNCED HISTORIC POLICE REFORM MILESTONE
April 12, 2024

Posted Courtesy of Wright Enterprises Community Spotlight San Francisco ~ Dallas~~~

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Friday, April 12, 2024

Contact: Mayor’s Press, mayorspressoffice@sfgov.org

 

 

***PRESS RELEASE*** 

SAN FRANCISCO POLICE DEPARTMENT REACHES HISTORIC

POLICE REFORM MILESTONE 

SFPD has submitted final 272 reform objectives to the California Department of Justice as part of multi-year police reform effort that starting in 2016 

 

San Francisco, CA – Today Mayor London N. Breed and Police Chief William Scott announced that the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) has reached a historic milestone in its multi-year police reform effort. On April 1, SFPD submitted the final 27 responses to the 272 reform recommendations from the United States and California Departments of Justice.

The SFPD’s accomplishments under this Collaborative Reform Initiative, a voluntary effort that began in 2016, stand as a national model for 21st Century Policing, proving that reform and public safety work together by building trust with communities.

In 2016, with then-supervisors London Breed and Malia Cohen, and then-Mayor Ed Lee, the SFPD asked the U.S. Department of Justice for a top-to-bottom review of the department amid mounting public criticism over several high-profile officer-involved shootings and other controversies.  

In October 2016, then-President Obama’s office of Community Oriented Policing Services conducted the most comprehensive independent assessment of the SFPD in history and issued a 431-page report with a total of 272 recommendations for improvement. The SFPD entered into a voluntary partnership with the DOJ, known as the Collaborative Reform Initiative.  

When former-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ended the U.S. DOJ’s participation in the collaborative reform partnership in 2017, the SFPD vowed to continue the reform initiative with the California Department of Justice. Since 2018, SFPD has worked with the state Department of Justice and consulting firm Jensen Hughes to continue to implement the 272 recommendations.

Today in a ceremony at City Hall, Mayor Breed recognized Chief Scott and the members of the Police Department for their work to implement these reforms, as well as those who have supported the effort over the last several years.  

"San Francisco has shown that advancing reform and maintaining public safety can go together to create a safer and more just city for all,” said Mayor London Breed. “When we started this effort back in 2016, we knew it wouldn’t be easy, but the San Francisco Police Department, our officers, and this city maintained our commitment to be a national model for police reform. This work will continue, and we will continue show the country how we deliver on reform and accountability.” 

“San Francisco stands as a model of what a 21st Century police department looks like,” said Chief Bill Scott. “Our hard-working officers are doing a remarkable job protecting the public and earning trust with communities. As we have submitted our final 27 recommendations to the California Department of Justice, crime rates in San Francisco have gone down in every major crime category this year. Our officers are proof that reform and public safety work hand-in-hand. We’re excited to continue our reform work as we bring on new generations of officers for years to come.”

The reforms have resulted in many successful measurable outcomes including: 

  • Reduction in use of force – Uses of force decreased by 65% from 2016 to 2022. Pointing of firearms decreased 79% from 2017-2021. (SFPD’s use of force standard was changed twice by the Police Commission since 2022, so they cannot be used to compare).  
  • Increased diversity in hiring and recruitment – Black, Asian, Hispanic, and American Indian recruits entering the academy increased from 52% in 2016 to 81% in 2023. 
  • Reduction in Officer Involved Shootings – Officer-involved shootings have decreased by 50% in the 7 years since the beginning of the Department of Justice review compared with the 7 years leading up to it. 
  • Increased Transparency – The SFPD holds town hall meetings and releases body-worn camera footage within 10 days of an officer-involved shooting incident.  
  • Enhanced De-escalation Training The SFPD expanded de-escalation training for officers, including adopting Critical Mindset training, emphasizing planning and coordination to resolve potentially high-risk situations safely. Around 99% of officers are trained on the 10-hour Crisis Intervention Training course. 
  • Expanding Community Engagement – The SFPD launched the Community Engagement Division and increased partnerships with community leaders across the city, including in neighborhoods with residents that have had longstanding distrust of law enforcement.  
  • Accountability The SFPD established a new use of force data collection system, enabling analysis and transparency in tracking uses of force.  
  • Racial Equity – The SFPD generated the Department’s first Racial Equity Action Plan and launched the Department’s Office of Racial Equity. The SFPD is working with academic partners to better understand the causes of disparities in contacts with the public. 

California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s Department of Justice will review the SFPD’s reform submissions over the next few months and issue a report on the final status of the Collaborative Reform Initiative.

“I am immensely proud of the extraordinary strides made by the San Francisco Police Department in completing and submitting 272 recommendations for reform,” said State Controller Malia Cohen. “During my tenure as a member of the Board of Supervisors and President of the Police Commission, we sought to lay the groundwork for meaningful change that is now coming to fruition. This milestone is not just a testament to the department's dedication to progress but also to the community's resilience and unwavering demand for justice and accountability. It is a privilege to witness such a historic transformation, ensuring that our law enforcement upholds the highest standards of community service and integrity."

Mayor Breed and Chief Scott are committed to sustaining the reform work in the years to come. The SFPD has established a team that will review and ensure all of the recommendations are closely monitored and updated to account for any changes in the law or department policy.  Many of the SFPD’s practices have since been adopted as state law, including bans on shooting at vehicles, bans on choke holds, and a required de-escalation policy.

These reform efforts have happened alongside a time when San Francisco has seen some of its lowest crime rates in recent history. In the first quarter (Jan 1-March 31) of 2024, property crime is down 32% and violent crime is down 14% compared to the first quarter of 2023. This builds on major improvements seen in 2023, when the City saw decade low crime rates, except for 2020 during the pandemic shutdown.

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