Police Reforms

Review and Reform of Use of Force Policy to Reduce Unnecessary Officer-Involved Shootings & 
Increase Safety for City’s Residents & Police Officers

In the immediate wake of the Mario Woods shooting in December 2015, Mayor Lee directed the Police Commission and Department to present a new plan to fundamentally re-engineer the way  police officers use force. Since this tragedy Mayor Lee and his administration have been working closely with city residents and leaders from law enforcement agencies, city departments, community and faith based organizations to outline key reforms. These efforts to reform the way  that police officers use force are necessary to prevent future incidents and ensure public safety, maintain officer safety and build community trust.

The comprehensive package of police reforms will build greater trust between the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) and the communities they serve, with the primary goal of preventing unnecessary officer-involved shootings. The following initiatives are outlined in eight categories:

1. Community Forums
2. Reforming Use-of-Force Policies
3. De-escalation Training
4. Implicit Bias Training
5. Accountability & Transparency
6. 21st Century Policing
7. US Department of Justice COPS Office Review
8. Mayor’s Open Letter to all Members of the San Francisco Police Department
9. Mayor Lee Announces $17.5 Million in Investments in Comprehensive Police Reforms & Violence Prevention

1. San Francisco Police Department's African American Community Advisory Forum
Last year the Chief of Police reintroduced Community Advisory Forums, bringing together local faith based leaders, youth and diverse community members to the table in ongoing discussions about public safety. These groups meet directly with senior members of the Police Department to provide feedback and input about ongoing police strategies.

Since December 2nd Mayor Lee has hosted several community meetings, including one on January 6th, 2016, with several African American community members to receive critical communitybased feedback on policing and violence prevention strategies. In addition, several Police Commission Town Hall meetings took place throughout the month of January, including at Third Baptist Church in the Western Addition, the Bayview YMCA in the Bayview and at Boeddeker Clubhouse in the Tenderloin.

2. Reforming Use of Force Policies to Emphasize Non-Lethal Interventions
Under directive by Mayor Lee the San Francisco Police Commission has reviewed the San Francisco Police Department General Order: Use of Force (5.01, Rev. 10/04/1995). On June 23, Mayor Lee issued the following statement regarding Police Commission’s unanimous approval of proposed revisions of San Francisco Police Department Use of Force Policy: http://sfmayor.org/index.aspx?recordid=1207&page=846

Additionally, the Mayor has directed the Police Chief to review and adopt more non-lethal measures of interventions related to public safety. This includes new training and equipment including, but not limited to: protective shields, additional extended range impact weapons (ERIW), and a pilot evaluation of less-lethal equipment such as tasers. Police Department action steps thus far:

1. Issued a policy making the pointing of a firearm a reportable use-of-force incident.
2. Altered the firearm training and certification process to control gunfire and to emphasize de-escalation.
3. Secured less-lethal alternatives including protective shields, de-escalation techniques and ordered extended range impact weapons.
4. On February 22, 2016, Mayor Lee in partnership with the San Francisco Police Commission announced a comprehensive package of police reforms to increase public safety.

3. Expanding the Crisis Intervention Training for SFPD
The Police Department has committed to a policy of de-escalation, and as such, all officers, new and existing, will receive at least as much training in de-escalation as they receive in use of weapons.

As the City continues to develop more effective measures for those in mental health crisis, the Police Department will expand its on-going commitment to Crisis Intervention Training.

4. Expansion of Implicit Bias Training
In January 2016, public safety leaders attended a national discussion on “Re-engineering Training on Police Use-of-Force” hosted in Washington, D.C. Currently the Police Department has 386 officers trained in the Crisis Intervention Team model with all police cadets receiving the training.
Mayor Lee directed the Police Department of initiate implicit bias training for all officers.

5. Accountability & Transparency: White House Police Data Initiative
At the Mayor's direction, the San Francisco Police Department have enrolled in the President Obama's Police Data Initiative. This includes using open data to increase transparency, build community trust, and support innovation, as well as better using technology, such as early warning systems, to identify problems, increase internal accountability, and decrease unneeded uses of force. This information can serve as the foundation for community visibility into and increased trust.

6. 21st Century Policing
After the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, the White House convened national experts and produced a President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing report. The Task Force members sought expertise from stakeholders and input from the public as they worked to identify best practices and make recommendations to the President. The Task Force submitted an initial report to the President in March 2015, and released the final report on May 18, 2015.

The final 58 recommendations are all currently supported by and being implemented by the San Francisco Police Department, except for three for which the misalignment is caused by unique local circumstances or current state law.

San Francisco has since been included as one of 20 cities on the COPS Office's "Task Force Recommendations Implementation Map," highlighting our City's leadership in commitment to improving police-community relations.

At the Mayor's direction, the Police Department will develop a dashboard to monitor the implementation of all eligible recommendations in President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing report through a bi-annual status report.

SFPD will be equipped with body worn cameras by the end of calendar year 2016.

Mayor Lee, in his SFPD hiring plan, has accelerated the hiring of 250 new police officers over the next two years. The hiring plan will allow the City to meet its mandatory staffing requirement of 1,971 officers in June of 2017, a full year ahead of schedule. Through the budget process, he has increased civilian oversight, provided more training for officers and is deploying body cameras for every SFPD police officer on the street.

7. U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office Review
Mayor Lee with SFPD Chief of Police Greg Suhr requested the assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct a review of the San Francisco Police Department:

  • The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) will now do a collaborative reform review of the Police Department’s policies, procedures, and training related to use-of-force and to develop an edged/other weapon strategies to de-escalate critical incidents without use-of-force.
  • Mayor Lee is solidifying the relationship and commitment to the investigation through a Memorandum of Agreement with the US Department of Justice, COPS Office and the San Francisco Police Department.

8. Mayor’s Open Letter to all Members of the San Francisco Police Department
On April 29, 2016, Mayor Lee wrote an open letter to all the members of the SFPD to call upon each of them to help ensure that the reforms underway – initiated on February 22, 2016 by Mayor Lee, Chief Suhr and the San Francisco Police Commission, under the oversight of the United States Department of Justice – move forward as quickly as possible.

9. Mayor Lee Announces $17.5 Million in Investments in Comprehensive Police Reforms & Violence Prevention
On May 10, 2016 Mayor Lee announced a $17.5 million police reform package to fund comprehensive police reforms to increase public safety and build greater trust between police officers and the community including increased oversight, transparency and accountability and including violence prevention programming as part of the Mayor’s Fiscal Years 2016-17 and 2017-18 proposed balanced budget. Find more information here: http://sfmayor.org/index.aspx?recordid=1151&page=846

Mayor Lee’s Letter to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors

Mayor Lee’s Letter to the United States Attorney General

Mayor Lee’s Letter to the Members of the San Francisco Police Department