Law enforcement officials hold accountability symposium at USF

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- More than 200 police chiefs and law enforcement professionals are gathering at the University of San Francisco Thursday and Friday to talk about police accountability and use of force issues.

While being a law enforcement officer differs from city to city, at least one condition rings true everywhere: "We send people into a situation with very little information, often charged with emotion or alcohol, or drugs or mental illness," said Sheriff Jim McDonald of Los Angeles County.

Those situations are why this year's law enforcement symposium focused on police accountability and use of force.

San Francisco Interim Police Chief Toney Chaplin says body worn cameras are a welcome addition to the SFPD. "It's an accountability piece but it's also a piece for the officers who are falsely accused of things they didn't do."

Cellphone videos of officer-involved shootings have changed the landscape.

"98 percent of the time they go very well, but the focus has been on the two percent," said McDonnell.

"The police department needs and wants the support of the communities that we serve," said Captain Dan Perea of the SFPD.

Perea shared a recent interaction he had with a 16-year-old Mission High School student. "The one question he asked me--if police felt differently about black people," he said. "We talked about that and I told him we treat everyone with respect, we treat everyone the same."

"When an officer arrives in the field they are working with what they have to work with," said McDonnell. "Any information we can get when we roll up on a scene is very helpful."

Law enforcement officials say the conversations they have here lead to policy reviews, updates and often change.
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