SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — The San Francisco Police Department Tuesday reaffirmed its commitment to completing reforms recommended by the U.S. Department of Justice last month amid rising concerns in the city that the values of San Francisco will diverge sharply with the federal government.
The city’s Board of Supervisors and Police Commission held a joint meeting Tuesday to discuss how to move forward in policing reforms, including the 479 recommendations made by the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services division.
There was also a unity gathering at City Hall Monday where department leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the values of San Francisco, department officials said.
The election of Donald Trump as U.S. President could signal a shift in national policing policy. President Barack Obama’s Justice Department has emphasized reform measures to improve relations between law
enforcement and some, particularly minority, communities, but the priorities of a Trump Administration remain unclear.
“The San Francisco Police Department is unwavering in our commitment to real collaborative reform,” San Francisco police acting Chief Toney Chaplin said in a statement.
“We will continue to implement the recommendations for reform which will be built on the most current policing policies and practices, fostering an environment of trust and strong relationships with our
communities,” he said.
It has been about a month since the Justice Department’s report was issued. The voluntary review was launched in February at the request of Mayor Ed Lee and former police Chief Greg Suhr in the wake of revelations of racist text messages exchanged among officers, police corruption cases prosecuted in federal court and controversy over police shootings including the December death of Mario Woods.
Among its findings were racial disparities in searches and use of force: that black and Hispanic people were stopped and searched more often by police and that most fatal use of force incidents involved people of color.
It also noted a lack of transparency in discipline cases.
Its recommendations include banning carotid holds to subdue suspects and shooting at moving cars, positions opposed by union leadership.
Implementation of a revised use of force policy has been delayed because of continued disagreements between the San Francisco Police Officers Association and the Police Commission.
In the last month, the department has already made progress on the reforms, developing a framework to begin implementation and establishing better protocols for dealing with mental health crises. The department is continuing its rollout of body worn cameras and providing implicit bias training to all officers.
“Now more than ever, San Francisco must demonstrate how communities can work together to make change,” Police Commission President Suzy Loftus said. “It’s time to join together and advance the important
reforms that will make our streets safer for community members and police officers alike.”