In a 387-page report, the Justice Department said it found the majority of deadly use of force incidents by San Francisco officers involved people of color.
Press release COPS office
Department of Justice Releases Assessment Report on San Francisco Police Department
COPS Office releases 94 findings and 272 recommendations to implement best practices at the San Francisco Police Department
October 12, 2016 SAN FRANCISCO – The Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) released its initial assessment of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) as part of its collaborative review process.
In response to community outcry after several officer-involved shootings and other high-profile incidents, Mayor Ed Lee and former Police Chief Greg Suhr requested assistance from the Justice Department to conduct a thorough review of the police department’s policies and practices.
“I applaud the City of San Francisco for stepping forward to take a critical look at the policies and practices within the San Francisco Police Department,” said COPS Office Director Ronald Davis. “This report makes clear the significant challenges that lie ahead for the police department and the city. More than 90 findings outlined in the report reflect key operational deficiencies in the police department. However, the more than 270 recommendations described in the report provide an opportunity for the police department to address these deficiencies and advance the police department to meet the best practices of 21st century policing.”
The deficiencies identified range from outdated use of force policies to inadequate data collection and lack of accountability measures. The assessment team identified disparities in traffic stops, post-stop searches, and use of deadly force against African Americans. In addition, there are numerous indicators of implicit and institutionalized bias against minority groups.
To address these and other issues, the report prescribes 272 recommendations to help the department improve its policies and practices, build community trust and implement industry best practices.
The COPS Office will work with the San Francisco Police Department over the next 18 months to help them implement these recommendations and will provide two progress reports.
The report, An Assessment of the San Francisco Police Department, can be found on the COPS Office website at: http://ric-zai-inc.com/ric.php?page=detail&id=COPS-W0817. A condensed version of the report (Executive Summary and Findings/Recommendations) can be found online at: http://ric-zai-inc.com/ric.php?page=detail&id=COPS-W0818.
Spanish and Cantonese versions of the Executive Summary and Findings/ Recommendations will be available in the upcoming weeks.
Additionally, full copies of the report will be available at branches of the San Francisco Public Library.
For the next 30 days, the COPS Office will be accepting comments regarding the report. Community members may submit comments to SanFrancisco.CRITA@usdoj.gov.
The assessment was administered as part of the COPS Office’s Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance, designed to provide technical assistance to agencies facing significant law enforcement-related issues. Using subject matter experts, interviews and direct observations, as well as conducting extensive research and analysis, the COPS Office assists law enforcement agencies with enhancing and improving their policies and procedures, their operating systems and their professional culture. The COPS Office can issue a series of recommendations and be instrumental in assisting agencies with the implementation of those recommendations.
Collaborative Reform Initiative: An Assessment of the San Francisco Police Department
The COPS Office found a department that is committed to making changes and working with the community. On the other hand, the department has significant deficiencies in the operational systems assessed. Deficiencies were found ranging from outdated use of force policies to inadequate data collection and lack of accountability measures. We also found disparities in traffic stops, post-stop searches, and use of deadly force against African Americans. In addition, there are numerous indicators of implicit and institutionalized bias against minority groups. 3 –
Focusing on the five objectives, we identified 94 findings and developed 272 associated recommendations. Following are key findings from each chapter.
Use of force See chapter 2 for the full narrative. • The majority of deadly use of force incidents by the SFPD involved persons of color (finding 1).
• The SFPD does not adequately investigate officer use of force (finding 18).
• The SFPD does not maintain complete and consistent officer-involved shooting files (finding 19).
• The SFPD has not developed comprehensive formal training specifically related to use of force practices (finding 6).
• Community members’ race or ethnicity was not significantly associated with the severity of force used or injury arising from an officer’s use of force (finding 21).
• The SFPD does not capture sufficient data on arrest and use of force incidents to support strong scientific analysis (finding 20)
Bias See chapter 3 for the full narrative.
• The weight of the evidence indicates that African-American drivers were disproportionately stopped compared to their representation in the driving population (finding 30).
• African-American and Hispanic drivers were disproportionately searched and arrested compared to White drivers. In addition, African-American drivers were more likely to be warned and less likely to be ticketed than White drivers (finding 31).
• Not only are African-American and Hispanic drivers disproportionately searched following traffic stops but they are also less likely to be found with contraband than White drivers (finding 32). –
• The SFPD did not conduct a comprehensive audit of official electronic communications, including department-issued e-mails, communications on mobile data terminals, and text messages on department-issued phones following the texting incidents (finding 24).
• The SFPD’s failure to fully and adequately address incidents of biased misconduct contributed to a perception of institutional bias in the department (finding 28).
• Allegations of biased policing by community members have not been sustained against an officer in more than three years (finding 29). Community policing practices See chapter 4 for the full narrative.
• The SFPD does not collect data around community policing nor measure success within community policing functions and programs (finding 46).
• The SFPD engages in a range of successful activities, programs, and community partnerships that support community policing tenets, particularly those coordinated through the Youth and Community Engagement Unit (finding 43).
• There is a strong perception among community members that the SFPD is not committed to the principles of procedural justice finding 38).
Accountability See chapter 5 for the full narrative.
• The SFPD is not transparent around officer discipline practices (finding 55).
• Evaluation of employee performance is not an institutionalized practice in the SFPD (finding 79).
• The SFPD’s Internal Affairs Division does not have standard operating procedures or templates for investigation reporting (finding 61).
• The SFPD does not analyze trends in complaints, situations that give rise to complaints, or variations between units or peer groups in relation to complaints and misconduct (finding 67).
• The process to update Department General Orders is overly protracted and does not allow the department to respond in a timely manner to emerging policing issues (finding 70).
Recruitment, hiring, and personnel practices See chapter 6 for the full narrative.
• Despite a relatively good record in hiring diverse candidates, perception remains in the community that the SFPD seeks to eliminate diverse candidates from its hiring pool (finding 81).
• Gender, racial, and ethnic minority recruits were terminated at a higher rate from recruit training as compared to White male recruits (finding 88).
• The SFPD does not have representative diversity within all its ranks in the organization, especially in the supervisory and leadership ranks (finding 90).
Executive Summary Conclusions
The COPS Office found a department that is committed to making changes and working with the community. Although there are deficiencies, this report summarizes the full assessment including findings and recommendations that will help the department modernize its policing practices and enhance community trust. As the SFPD continues to address the challenges outlined in the CRI-TA assessment, it will need to take into account issues related to its leadership and vision, communication and accountability efforts, and technological infrastructure. Trust and collaboration between the SFPD and the community are needed to develop co-produced policing, an environment in which police practices and decisions are transparent, appropriate, understood, and supported. In turn, the SFPD must be willing to share decision-making authority over policing priorities and respond to community expectations and needs. This alignment of police and community interests can be served through effective, collaborative application of the principles of community policing. This report and its recommendations need to be required reading for officers and supervisors of the SFPD. Further, the Police Commission and the Board of Supervisors should require the SFPD to adopt the recommendations contained in this report and to provide quarterly reporting from the chief on progress in meeting the reform goals contained in this assessment.
See full report at https://ric-zai-inc.com/ric.php?page=detail&id=COPS-W0818