The San Francisco Police Department is so committed to using less force that they are now putting little “Safety with Respect” stickers on some of their vehicles.
If there were a sign at SFPD headquarters that said “X Days Since the Last Police Shooting,” that sign would today read “325 Days.” That’s the longest the department has gone without shooting a suspect in nearly 20 years, and the San Francisco Chronicle reports the department has seen a 30% decline in use-of-force incidents. Chief Bill Scott attributes to this to new, stricter rules of engagement, and additional training with an immersive five-screen, virtual reality use-of-force simulator that allows officers to duplicate high-risk situations.
There's a new motto at the San Francisco Police Department and it's meant to display officers' commitment to community policing. https://t.co/qfsmCthrbe— KCBS 106.9 FM/740 AM (@KCBSRadio) May 1, 2019
And for good measure, the department is now putting “Safety with Respect” stickers on some of their vehicles, according to KCBS radio.
A skeptic might laugh at those stickers, and point out the city just shelled out $140,000 to the family of police shooting victim Luis Góngora Pat, rattle off additional victim names like Mario Woods and Alex Nieto, and remind you of a racist text scandal that rollicked the department a few years back. That prompted a 2016 U.S. Department of Justice report finding “deficiencies in every operational area assessed” and recommending 272 policy reforms. Only about a quarter of those recommendations have been enacted, though, and Mission Local reports that the California Department of Justice said late last year that the force was “not in substantial compliance.”
That state DoJ brought in the law enforcement consulting firm Hillard Heintze to oversee improvements to the force, and Chief Bill Scott seems to want to get out ahead of an update being released today by that review group (the report will not be public for a few weeks).
“We’re really in a good place now,” Chief Scott told the Chronicle. “We have a defined compliance standard. It did cause us to go back and reassess each of these recommendations, and in some cases we found additional work based on the new standard.”
San Francisco police are not under the kind of federal oversight that Oakland police are under for their respective laundry list of officer-involved shootings. And Chief Scott’s two years on the job have certainly been less contentious than the tenure of his predecessor Greg Suhr. The department will probably get some black eyes from the impending oversight reports. But if they’ve gone longer without shooting anybody than they have in 20 years, the SFPD is probably doing something right.