Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Politics & Govt
AI Assisted Icon
Published on April 13, 2024
San Francisco Police Department Completes Final Reforms, Celebrated by Mayor Breed for Setting National Policing StandardsSource: Google Street View

The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) has successfully submitted its final 27 responses to a sweeping series of 272 reform recommendations, an effort to revamp the city's policing practices which launched in 2016 with the guidance of the United States and California Departments of Justice, according to a statement on the city's official website. This monumental step was celebrated by Mayor London N. Breed and Police Chief William Scott at a City Hall ceremony where they heralded the accomplishments of the SFPD in setting a national standard for modern policing.

Highlighting the SFPD's perseverance in the face of ongoing scrutiny, the reform initiative initially called in response to public outcry over high-profile officer-involved shootings and other controversies in 2016 was met with a key partnership between the SFPD and the Obama administration's office of Community Oriented Policing Services, the partnership, though, was abruptly terminated by former-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in 2017. Nevertheless, the department advanced its reform agenda with the California Department of Justice and consulting firm Jensen Hughes to see through the final execution of the reforms; Mayor Breed and Chief Scott recognized the steadfast efforts of the department and supporters who shepherded the city's journey toward change over the past years, the San Francisco government's announcement detailed.

Among the critical changes cited, SFPD reports a 65% decrease in the use of force from 2016 to 2022 and an impressive 79% reduction in the pointing of firearms from 2017 to 2021. The achievements are also reflected in the diversification of the police force, with the number of recruits from Black, Asian, Hispanic, and American Indian backgrounds entering the academy surging from 52% in 2016 to 81% in 2023. Chief Scott connected these reforms directly with public safety improvements, emphasizing that crime rates in all major categories have declined this year, and underscored this correlation by stating that “Our hard-working officers are doing a remarkable job protecting the public and earning trust with communities” in a statement obtained by the city's official news release.

The gains in law enforcement reform also include enhanced de-escalation training, with 99% of officers having undergone the 10-hour Crisis Intervention Training course, rigorous accountability measures have been implemented alongside the establishment of an Office of Racial Equity, and an increased focus has been placed on community engagement efforts as tangible measures to rebuild trust within the city. These efforts come at a time when San Francisco has also reported significant reductions in both property and violent crimes in recent years, despite the nationwide challenges faced by urban centers, announced the city's website.

The California Attorney General's office, led by Rob Bonta, is set to review SFPD's submissions and will issue a comprehensive report on the Collaborative Reform Initiative within the upcoming months, mirroring the department's commitment. Mayor Breed assures the continuation of reform work, extending beyond current strides. The SFPD has designated a specialized team to monitor the implementation and adapt to legal and policy changes down the line, ensuring that San Francisco's law enforcement meets the highest standards of service and integrity. As State Controller Malia Cohen proudly reported, “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,” according to the city's announcement.