As part of his proposed two-year budget, Mayor Lee has suggested adding $17.5 million to the SFPD's budget with the goal of instituting reforms and reducing violence, the AP reports via KRON4. The majority of those funds will go toward city-funded or community programs ABC7 reports, while other funds will go to training, Chief Suhr says. "The department will spend $1.4 million over the next two years on direct training for staff with regard to implicit bias," he's quoted as saying. Also included in the budget, according to the Examiner, would be funds for a pilot program of 100 Tasers, a less-lethal weapon whose use by the force is the subject of debate.
After proposing that spending, at a Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday, the Supes used their question time with the mayor to grill him on police reform. Some members of the crowd called on the public officials to, as has become the refrain, "Fire Chief Suhr." Lee's inauguration in January was drowned out by calls to remove Suhr, and that din has only grown since, with a widely publicized hunger strike that came to an end last week also demanding that the Mayor remove his police chief. While Lee still says he won't do so, in February, the Mayor characterized the killing of Mario Woods as "horrifying" and described police officers who shot him as a "firing squad." Prior to that, Lee called for a federal review of the Police Department, and a "comprehensive" Department of Justice review was granted a little over a week after his request.
“The community is in pain. Protesters are demanding the removal of the chief,” Board President London Breed said to the mayor according to the Examiner “How do we bring the city together?” she asked.
During the meeting Lee was also asked about the preliminary findings of the year-long, District Attorney-launched Blue Ribbon Panel on Transparency, Accountability, and Fairness in Law Enforcement. As the Examiner summarizes its findings so far, the report points to "a number of serious issues in the department related to everything from discipline, hiring and oversight to lack of transparency and biased policing of minority communities."
“Right now I can’t tell you what that report said because I haven’t read it,” Lee said according to Mission Local, adding that he would read it when its results were final.
“With all due respect," responded Supervisor Campos, "I think that the public expects you to be on top of this report as it comes out and to take action as soon as possible."
In the day after the meeting, Supervisors Jane Kim and Campos have come out in favor of firing Chief Suhr.
According to Mission Local, Campos says that “For me the Blue Ribbon Panel is a game changer... I don’t see how [Suhr] can remain as chief of police and implement the changes needed. At a minimum there needs to be a new head of the police department.”
Kim wants the change to happen more gradually. In her statement, which is here in the Weekly, she says that “Many are calling for the Chief to be fired at once. I believe we could actually do worse than Chief Suhr, which is why we must begin this process at once so we can make sure the next chief can lead our department, reform it and do so in a way that rebuilds the community trust so vital to public safety."
Echoing that point, to some degree, is San Francisco magazine. Their analysis: "the combination of a weak mayor and an ever stronger and more aggressive Police Officers Association means that Suhr's successor would largely be a relatively close replica of Suhr himself."