Many San Francisco residents receive regular communiques from their local police stations by way of an e-mail newsletter. In fact, if you live in the Ingleside, Richmond, Bayview or Park Districts, you get them once a week. Central District denizens get them biweekly, and Taraval District every month.
Sorry Mission, Northern, Southern and Tenderloin District residents. Looks like you’re still out of the loop.
Six months ago, all 10 SFPD stations opted to standardize their variant, disorganized format for newsletters — following reporting from Mission Local. That’s good. Sadly, 40 percent of the stations are still failing to heed the Department of Justice’s recommendation to actually write them.
Well, that’s not so good.
After our December article revealing that only two stations actually e-mailed out their newsletters — though more claimed they did — all 10 stations adopted MailChimp as a platform to distribute pertinent local police information to this city’s nearly 900,000 residents.
You can now subscribe to all 10 newsletters through forms on each station’s website. But you won’t receive one from Mission, Northern, or Southern — for the simple reason that they don’t appear to be getting written and disseminated. While Tenderloin sent one in April, the last one they crafted before that was in December. These latest editions are listed on the SFPD website; Mission dates back to January, Northern to early April, and Southern to March.
Northern station got a new leader in January. He pledges you’ll be reading a newsletter soon.
“I inherited a station without a template, because former Captain John Jaimerena fell sick. I didn’t even get to sit down with him,” Northern Station Captain Joseph Engler says. “Auto break-ins and violent crime are down, so we’re doing good things. [A newsletter] will be coming out this week.”
Mission and Tenderloin stations also had new captains at the time of the transition — but so did six of the 10 stations. Park, Bayview, Ingleside, and Taraval managed to send them consistently throughout the change of command.
In October 2016, among its 272 recommendations to the SFPD on equitable policing, the DOJ suggested that stations send out regular newsletters as a simple way to communicate with local residents. This was portrayed as a basic step in bolstering the city’s community policing efforts in the wake of the Mario Woods shooting.
In response to inquiries about the deficient frequency and content of these newsletters last year, the head of the Community Engagement Division, Commander David Lazar, responded that a standardized format was coming soon. At the time, newsletters across the city were varied in appearance and content — most faltered in frequency and many stations did not send them at all.
The stations that have adopted this easy way to communicate with residents — Central, Ingleside, Taraval, Richmond, Bayview, and Park — have done so enthusiastically. They follow a well-designed and easy-to-read format, with insightful content, including recent crime trends, neighborhood activities and helpful contact information. Some are dizzyingly thorough, reaching upwards of 50 pages.
With such helpful newsletters being sent out to part of the city with great frequency, it raises the question: What’s the holdup with the other stations?
The SFPD media relations office had no comment on the status of the newsletters but invited you, the people, to take it up with the individual stations. Mission, Southern and Tenderloin stations hadn’t responded to messages at the time of this posting.
The Department of Justice oversight of the SFPD reform process ended in September of last year, and it appears that progress on this particular issue is dependent on your station captain’s preference.
If you reside in one of these less communicative districts and call your station to request a newsletter, you’ll likely give your email address and can hope to get one in the future.
Again, good luck.