San Francisco's Police Chief wants officers to avoid placing suspects on ground during encounter

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- You've probably seen it before in movies or real life. Suspects sitting on the curb while being detained.

Police Chief William Scott would like his officers to stop using the practice. His policy draft says, "Seating any handcuffed or un-handcuffed detained subject on the ground or sidewalk during an encounter should be avoided."

Dan Lawson, a former San Francisco police captain who was in charge of the Academy, explains why.

"They feel it to be demeaning to sit down on the concrete. People walking by, it's almost like they're being treated like an animal."

Lawson says many departments across the country have changed old policies like this one, and for good reason.
"That often would decrease tension. The individual felt like he was being treated with respect and valued even if he may have been the subject of our investigation."

"Officially sitting someone on the ground, having them take a seat handcuffed-- that's part of academy training that has been taught in the past," says Sean Perdomo, who is an executive member of the Police Officers Association.

The police union says it's received lots of feedback from its membership, asking why change the policy now? What effect will it have on police safety? Will it create more paperwork for officers, who have to document their encounters?
Perdomo says its complicated.

"There are definite reasons to place someone in the back of a police car and to have them on the sidewalk. That's why this policy needs to be vetted out."

The Department issued a statement which says in part, "The policy is still in draft form it is aligned with 21st century policing, our dept's values and commitment to providing safety with respect to everyone."

The Chief now has to meet with the police union to discuss the proposed change.
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