San Fran, State AG Announce Agreement to Keep Police Reforms on Track
(by Keith Burbank) – San Francisco police and city officials announced an agreement today to have state prosecutors independently review 272 police reforms recommended by federal justice officials in 2016.
The announcement comes after the U.S. Department of Justice decided in September to stop providing resources and guidance to police on implementing the reforms, which were recommended by the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
“This is just too important not to do,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said at a news conference this morning with city officials and police.
Becerra did not say how much the agreement will cost his department. Rather, he said he’s not going to wait for state legislators to provide the money but will find it.
The federal recommendations were made following several officer-involved shootings in San Francisco in 2015 that led to the resignation of police Chief Greg Suhr.
The recommendations include the reform of the Police Department’s use-of-force policies, racial bias training, community policing, transparency and accountability.
Police said that they have completed 81 recommendations, submitted 79 others for review and started on the last 112.
Because of the implementation, use-of-force cases dropped by 18 percent and complaints against officers fell 9 percent in 2017 compared with 2016, according to police data.
“We’re committed to doing this work and we won’t stop until it’s done,” police Chief Bill Scott said.
Scott added that making and maintaining the changes will be hard but the agreement with Becerra’s office will allow the Police Department to complete them.
“These are unprecedented times,” Board of Supervisors president London Breed said.
The city is going continue the collaborative efforts between police and communities of color, which the recommendations are meant to do, Breed said.
“Every life matters,” Supervisor Malia Cohen said.
Cohen initiated the effort to reform the Police Department after police shot Mario Woods to death in her jurisdiction in the Bayview District, she said.
The Police Department’s use-of-force policy had not been reviewed since the 1990s, Cohen said.
The recommendations implemented so far have also resulted in a more diverse Police Department with an increased number of minorities in leadership positions.
“I think what we’re all looking for is fairness,” Scott said.