SFPD report calls for organizational changes

December 17, 2008 10:04:33 PM PST
A wide-ranging project aimed at reforming the San Francisco Police Department moved forward this week with the completion of an assessment of the department's organizational structure.

The San Francisco Police Department Organizational Assessment is part of an overall San Francisco Police Effectiveness Review initiated in August 2007 and conducted by the nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based Police Executive Research Forum.

Using input from police and other city departments, as well as community groups, the review has already covered subjects such as police foot patrols and district stations boundaries.

The 353-page organizational assessment, delivered to the mayor's office and the Board of Supervisors on Monday, made approximately 200 recommendations on changing the Police Department's high-level policy decisions, on crime-fighting improvements and community policing, and on use of force by officers.

Proposals included making police staffing changes to maximize officer response to calls from residents; strengthening the department's investigations bureau; and making the chief of police a contract position to stabilize the top of the department in order to implement essential organizational changes.

Use of force recommendations included restricting the department's policy about shooting at moving vehicles, and implementing the use of Tasers and other less lethal options.

City officials discussed the review this evening at a joint meeting of the San Francisco Police Commission and the Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee.

Committee chair Ross Mirkarimi called the review an "unprecedented...top-to-bottom performance audit of the San Francisco Police Department."

"Now it's going to be a question of the political will" to implement the recommendations, Mirkarimi said, noting the city's difficult budget situation.

"It's rare that you see a public agency open itself to outside consultants," Police Commissioner David Onek said.

Onek said he believed many of the recommendations were cost-neutral, but added, "Some of the others we might have to put on the back burner for a while."

Police Chief Heather Fong pledged to try to implement the recommendations "as quickly as possible."

The full report is available at www.sfpolicereview.org.


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