Command Staff


SFPD’s use of force plummets from last year

Use of force by SFPD officers continues on a sharp downward trend, according to recently released use-of-force data.   Citywide, SFPD continues to disproportionately use force on people of color, specifically African Americans, the numbers show. And, despite the overall downturn in use-of-force incidents, there were four deaths at the hands or under the watch of San Francisco officers in...

SFPD stations offer few places to sit and not much information

What happens at a police station? Or, here’s a better question: what should happen there? If you walked into most of the 10 district stations in San Francisco, your answer would likely be as short as you’d hope your visit would be. The station lobbies are, with some exceptions, furnished with hard surfaces, little light, and there’s often little information...

SF Police Commission President against using State DOJ as reform overseer

Police Commission President Julius Turman on Wednesday blasted the SFPD’s decision to have the State Attorney General oversee the reform process started by the U.S. Department of Justice. “Despite my objections — and, when I was not present, despite Commissioner (Thomas) Mazzucco’s objections — this was the party selected out of other outside agencies to do this work,” said Turman...

SF Mission District homicides down slightly in 2017

Homicides in the Mission District were down in 2017, with eight murders reported by the end of the year, compared to 10 homicides in 2016. In 2017, 56 homicides occurred citywide, compared to a total of 58 in 2016. The first homicide of 2017 took place on New Year’s Day, but 2018 did not see its first killing until last...

SF Police Commission addresses “issues” in SFPD body camera policy

The Police Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday for changes to the body camera policy in response to “misinterpretations,” in the words of Commission President Julius Turman.   Likewise, Police Chief Bill Scott said: “There have been some issues that have arisen that we felt needed clarification.” Turman declined to comment on what those “misinterpretations” were. However, the three main revisions...

Road to SFPD reform cautiously, sometimes haltingly, engages community

San Francisco’s attempt to incorporate community input into the police reform effort could be viewed as delusional (police would never take advice from civilians) to foolhardy (the two would never get along). Nevertheless, that is what the SFPD and civilian stakeholders have attempted to do as they work through the Justice Department’s 272 recommendations to make the SFPD better. Nearly...

At SF Bayview town hall meeting, anger erupts as police show footage of an unarmed man (update)

Updated, Monday, December 11: The SFPD identified the officer involved in the Dec. 1 shooting as Officer Christopher Samayoa.  He has been assigned to the Field Operations Bureau. Police have not found evidence that the 42-year-old man shot and killed by a San Francisco Police Department officer last Friday was armed, Capt. Valerie Matthews of the SFPD Major Crimes Unit...

Most SF police stations falter in communicating with residents (update)

Covering the Police is a collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Update: 2/12/18 Since publishing this piece on December 5th, all of the district station’s have taken a page from Bayview’s use of Mailchimp and residents can now sign up easily for a newsletter for any or all of the ten stations. The links to sign  up are all...

Police use of force down citywide; up in SF Mission

Despite a citywide reduction in police using force in the third quarter of this year, the Mission District accounted for the highest number of times officers used force — and has actually seen an uptick, according to use-of-force data released by the SFPD. In the third quarter of 2017, the police reported 622 uses of force citywide, down 32.1 percent...

Police chief Bill Scott talks about his critics and his first 10 months in SF

In an interview with Mission Local this week, Police Chief Bill Scott talked about a range of issues, including the culture shift in the force he took over nearly a year ago, the need for more services to keep at-risk youth from falling deeper into the criminal justice system and new minimum requirements for community engagement. Formerly the deputy chief...

SFPD makes case for Tasers ahead of Police Commission vote

San Francisco Police Department Commander Peter Walsh on Friday afternoon made one last case for the adoption of Tasers, just hours before the Police Commission was set to vote on whether to arm the SFPD with the stun guns. The commission’s vote will be the culmination of a tense dialogue between community members, activists and police that has taken place...

In SF, investigations of officer-involved shootings abound; delays do too

San Francisco police officers got the call at 11:35 p.m. on Saturday — there was a domestic disturbance, possibly a weapon. They arrived at the Russian Hill apartment to hear Damian Murray threatening his wife and two children with a gun. For three hours, crisis negotiators worked to calm Murray. And then, in quick succession, a gunshot fired from within...

As SFPD reforms continue without DOJ, promises to keep pressure on

Covering the Police is a collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Justice has left the building. But, last Tuesday afternoon, Police Chief William Scott tried to reassure the Board of Supervisors that the Justice Department’s exit from SFPD’s reform efforts will make no difference. “The thought process and the desire is to continue, even though the DOJ has...

The Tasers SF proposes buying are backed by few studies

To Rick Smith, the founder and chief executive officer of Axon, which manufactures Tasers, electricity is not something to be feared, but revered. Electricity offers life. Without it, Smith wrote in 2007, “Earth would be nothing but a barren rock in the cosmos.” And Smith has long been determined to prove this point, arguing that equipping law enforcement with the...

SF community members push back on Tasers

More than 100 people turned out for a community meeting on Tasers Tuesday night, first breaking into small groups of roughly 25 each, and then convening in a fiery public comment session that at one point erupted into activists chanting, “No Tasers!” and drowning out Police Commissioner Sonia E. Melara’s calls for order. The police commission has voted against the...