Last week, the Department of Justice issued a scathing review of the Police Department following a six-month investigation of the force. That followed a previous investigation and report by the Blue Ribbon Panel, a group of retired judges assembled by District Attorney George Gascón to look into department practices.

Both found the department needed better racial bias training for officers, a better data collection system, and a more open disciplinary process, among other changes. This week, we asked candidates which of the 81 recommendations made by the Blue Ribbon Panel they thought the most important.

Of the recommendations made by the Blue Ribbon Panel to the Board of Supervisors, which one do you think the most important to be implemented and why?

Respuestas en español aquí.

Hillary Ronen, Chief of Staff for Supervisor David Campos

I’ve been consistently outspoken about the need for police reform. If I’m elected supervisor one of my top priorities will include: real and meaningful oversight of the police department; body cameras that officers can’t turn off or review before filing police reports; and mandatory de-escalation before any use of force.

Sadly, my opponent has been dishonest about his record on police reform. As chronicled in the San Francisco Examiner, when Josh served on the Democratic County Central Committee (DCCC), he gutted a measure calling for meaningful reform of the SFPD such as requiring annual racial bias training and monthly review of officers who commit illegal searches.

Josh stripped out all 9 substantive recommendations from the resolution and instead turned it into a document praising the police department. It’s no surprise that the Police Officers Association has funded two PACs supporting Josh Arce’s District 9 supervisor campaign to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.

Joshua Arce, Civil Rights Attorney

It is clear that we must take any measures necessary to rebuild the trust between our police department and our communities.

Some of the most important aspects of the Blue Ribbon Panel report and the recent Department of Justice report include, adequately tracking use-of-force incidents, changing the use-of-force policy to emphasize de-escalation, completing independent investigations of use-of-force incidents, engaging in substantial implicit bias training, updating the department’s community policing practices, and increasing diversity in recruitment and promotion practices.

Of these, I believe the most urgent reforms are changing our use-of-force policy to emphasize de-escalation and requiring independent investigations of of use-of-force incidents.

With a new Police Chief and the recent recommendations from the Department of Justice, I believe this is a moment of real opportunity to change the way our police department operates for the better and become a model of justice and inclusivity.

Melissa San Miguel, Education Advocate

Being an officer on the force is a challenging job and it comes with immense responsibility to the community. As it stands, the SFPD must immediately change its outdated, insufficient use of force policy. The current policy allows officers to “use whatever force is reasonable and necessary” and “no more,” but these terms are vague and undefined. This is unacceptable.

The Police Commission should immediately adopt a new use of force policy that declares the fundamental sanctity of human life. The new policy must require officers to use de-escalation tactics, whenever feasible, before resorting to force. To protect the sanctity of human life, force must only be used as a last resort, and officers must be required to use the least amount of force necessary.

However, the new policy will be mere words unless officers are not held accountable when they use force improperly or excessively. To repair the lack of trust between the SFPD and communities across the city, data must be collected on use of force incidents, that information must be publicly available and officers must be held accountable when they violate the use of force policy.

Iswari España, Training Officer with the Human Services Agency

I believe that all of the recommendations offered by the by the panel are of extreme importance.

If I had the power to implement one in particular it would have to be Chapter 4 on Internal discipline on its entirety.

This chapter addresses accountability issues that for years have been overlooked. To me accountability is critical, as this concept enhances the ethics of operations.
Accountability in this setting, is a willingness to answer for the outcomes of your choices, actions, and behaviors.

I am appreciative, that the chapter offers viable consequences. If there are consequences for inappropriate behavior, the department and its force will have a real reason from deterring from bad practices. The community wants transparency; we do not want to live in fear of those that are meant to protect us. As supervisor, I will advocate for our community and our neighbors.

43 Questions is a weekly series — started 43 weeks before Election Day — to question the candidates running for District 9 supervisor. Send us questions to info@missionlocal.com and let us know in comments or in an email if you think candidates have answered as asked.

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  1. 3 of 4 police killings recently have happened in our district. Jessica Williams practically was in D9. We’ve got the ingredients for incidents to turn ugly. The complacency shown until two kids get shot at 9:30 PM in Precita Park or a 13 y/o is shot on 26th & Valencia is pretty shameful. We don’t act like we want problems solved. It’d be nice if our candidates gave more substance on things not loosely attributable to cops behavior. SFPD’s killed a meat cleaver wielding homeless man on meth who a homeless outreach team deemed ‘out of control’ and called 911 on. A disturbed young man supplementing Abilify with pot, who threatened to shoot a guy and his dog before trying to kick the dog. A black tazer was in what we’d all call a gun holster, he told cops to show him their hands before turning and firing it them. A witness came forward a year later, but then he admitted he has trouble with dates and times due to alcoholism related memory loss. And he admitted he’s technically partially blind. He did make sure to remind us SFPD cant be trusted though, thanks. Amilcar Perez had a big ‘ol knife out during a police confrontation, everything else all the way up until the mans autopsy is disputed. His defenders, his roommates, weren’t there and say he’s an immigrant so he didn’t do anything. Whether or not that bike was stolen or if he was returning it isn’t related to de-escalation implementation, the go-to for anyone who stared caring about this topic when it became cool to. Our tone doesn’t reflect numbers like 20,000 calls for service to SFPD regarding mental health from 2012-2015, 19,997 of which ended without a fatality. An alternate reality attributing all the bad stuff to traditionally white, often conservative establishments is a dream for a politician in D9. Watch nothing change.

    1. You’re one hundred percent on the money, Des. Although a couple of the candidates sounded cogent it’s only in the Mission that candidates would get asked this question and only in the Mission that they’d actually dwell on such a loaded question. Is that what the Mission wants to hear about, police reform? I sincerely doubt it. Not me, I want to hear about MORE police presence, and plenty of it. I want to hear about more arrests, and plenty of them.
      Just curious, but who is Hillary Ronen’s base, a bunch of old hippie chicks and draft dodging Weathemen? People that still drive cars with carburetors? Look at the photos on her website. Look at her list of supporters, it’s the same old usual suspects out to get our money and put it in their pockets. Virtually all of them are at the public through in some fashion.
      More bad news, this ain’t her Mission anymore and this ain’t their city. The times have changed. She may eke out a victory but that will be the last hurrah for the self-absorbed and self-serving left. Campos brought us to the brink. He did absolutely nothing for the Bart stations, him and his soon departing crony Radulovich, most assuredly one of the worst Bart directors ever to serve. Now Radulovich is waxing philosophically about global warming or climate change or rising sea levels or something like that. Not a bit surprising for a former SF politician, as he is a politician. Looks to me like he’s found his true calling but that’s for another conversation. Campos did absolutely nothing to clean up the filthy streets. Hillary will continue Campos’ tradition of berating law enforcement and the fire department and giving lower income people and the destitute false hope of subsidized housing. She claims to have witnessed the discrimination her father faced. Got some bad news Hillary but everyone faces discrimination in the workplace, even yes, white people. It could be that someone attended a second or third tier university in a firm with Ivy league grads or advanced degrees. Once upon a time it had to do with the pronunciation of one’s last name. Ever hear of age discrimination, one of the most insidious types of discrimination? Forget the out of work steelworker or coal miner. Ask any forty or fifty year old female out job searching. Truly heart breaking, absolutely heartbreaking. Gee whiz, the world is so unfair. Boo friggin’ hoo.

      “Keep the unique character of our commercial corridors by protecting our Legacy Businesses from unfair rent hikes and evictions.” this straight from her website. What is an unfair rent hike? Just askin’? Plays well to the masses but who actually falls for this empty rhetoric?

      “Address parking and transportation needs by creating Community Traffic and Parking Boards empowered to common-sense traffic adjustments that acknowledge the unique needs of our neighborhoods.” straight from her website. Hey Hillary, do you think it’s fair what we as citizens pay for a parking meter fine or a parking ticket? Extortion, absolute extortion on the part of City Hall and all to line their pockets. That’s big money to pay for many of your constituents for a very small transgression.

      “Give all families healthy food options and address our many food deserts, by finding public space for farmers’ markets or nonprofit grocery stores accessible to all neighborhoods.” once again–straight from her website. Hey Hillary, how come they don’t need nonprofit grocery stores in Chinatown, or the Richmond, or the Sunset? Your district probably has more small business grocery stores than any district in California. What’s with the nonprofit? By the way, tell us why you support the soda tax, which apparently most small grocers do not? Is it because of the “I know better than you” moralizers once again trying to get into our pockets?

      Have a great day readers and keep up the forum Mission Local.

  2. Fascism and obedience to authority are at all time high in the USA…There are over 100,000 police officers in Texas alone… no wonder we have the highest prison population known to mankind… the real crooks are the politicians… blame citizens united….for some reason the right believes they are better than others in this country….the police are more perverted than politicians for blindly following these scumbags…. How can you ask about reform when all of the judges are rich.?. I mean….they paid for that position so they can feel important… so why shouldn’t they imprison poor people for life over minor offenses:..The USA has made 1 in 3 people into “criminals”… and you got the guts to ask for hat do we need to reform?….

  3. What hell is mandatory de-escalation before any use force? Sounds like a good way to get officers hurt or killed. As a policy, its a non-defense disability claim. As to the use of body cam infomation in writing reports – after the lawsuits by the POA- it will judged as a tool that officers can use. So I guess if u want more of the failed polices of Mr Campos in relationships to crime – Hillary is your candidate.