Police commission shake up could have immediate, drastic impact on SFPD policy

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A shake up in the San Francisco Police Commission Tuesday night could have an immediate effect on setting department policy. (KGO-TV)

The San Francisco Police Commission is effectively paralyzed, after a surprising Board of Supervisors vote on Tuesday night.

"They completely neutered the police commission, unable to meet right now because they don't have enough people sworn in," said Mayor Mark Farrell who is frustrated that the Board of Supervisors rejected his re-appointment of Joe Marshall and Sonia Melara to the San Francisco Police Commission. "I reappointed them for a reason. They've done a great job for the residents of San Francisco."

Farrell worries the city will not have a full police commission, with seven members, until September and says he's never witnessed a vote like this before at City Hall. "This is all politics and it's embarrassing for the board of supervisors to do this."

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Joe Marshall has been a member of the police commission since 2004. He was at the Board of Supervisors meeting tonight and says he was given no warning, that after more than a decade of volunteering his time on the commission, he would not be re-appointed. "Its a shock because I had no idea that any of this was afoot." Without him and Melara, the Commission has only three members, which is not enough to hold meetings or make decisions.

Their work includes taser use policy, Department of Justice reforms about police shootings and searching for a new police chief, if Bill Scott gets LAPD's top job. "All that work for now stops. I'm just hoping everything goes smoothly in the interim," said Marshall.

Supervisor Malia Cohen voted against Marshall and Melara and says the Board can fill several police commission vacancies in the next month. "The business of the city will still be able to move forward."

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She acknowledged Marshall and Melara's contributions to the City of San Francisco, but says she wants to see change on the Police Commission. "Instead of just rubber stamping and going the easy route, which is what Mayor Farrell was proposing, I think we need to put more thought and energy into selecting highly motivated and new candidates."

Five Supervisors rejected the re-appointments including Aaron Peskin, who says the reason for his vote, is that he thinks the new Mayor should make those decisions after the June 5th election.

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