Police Commission

Dramatic scene unfolds as commissioner considers tie-breaking Taser vote

Covering the Police is a collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Robert Hirsch, one of the newest police commissioners and a mayoral appointee, was considered the swing vote in the decision whether to arm the San Francisco Police Department with Tasers. Hirsch, a lawyer who had long been a hearing officer in complaints against the police, had said earlier...

SF police officials greenlight Tasers after long and rowdy meeting

Covering the Police is a collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Months of heated debate over whether to arm San Francisco police with Tasers came to a raucous conclusion late Friday night as the city’s Police Commission voted 4-3 to approve the stun guns. The meeting’s adjournment near midnight was met with thunderous cries of “shame, shame, shame,” from...

SF Human Rights director advises against Tasers – for now

All during the fall, the Human Rights Commission held community meetings with hundreds of San Francisco residents to hear from them on whether the San Francisco Police Commission should approve Tasers for the San Francisco Police Department. For Sheryl Davis, the executive director of the Human Rights Commission, what struck her from the meetings was the inescapable fear youth hold...

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...

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...

National training experts weigh in on SFPD Taser adoption

As the San Francisco Police Commission decides whether to equip the SFPD with Tasers, two national experts reforming traditional police training see a place for Tasers on an officer’s tool belt – but one also viewed them as less than critical. However, both agreed that training was key to using Tasers effectively. Sue Rahr, the director of the Washington State...

Residents wonder at second hearing on Tasers whether they will be heard

There were those who came with questions, those who came to lecture and those with prepared notes that they held between their trembling hands as they spoke. Some 80 residents from across San Francisco filed into City College’s student union Tuesday night and took their seats in bright orange plastic chairs to talk about Tasers and whether the San Francisco...

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...

Newest police commissioners work on accountability, tasers

The police commission has welcomed two new members since our last coverage of it in October. Here, they discuss some of the recent efforts of the commission. The seven commissioners are civilians and receive a $100 stipend in exchange for setting policy and making disciplinary decisions for the San Francisco Police Department. They hold public meetings every Wednesday night. Robert Hirsch...

Meet the Commissioners Selecting Candidates for SF’s New Police Chief

From approving policy on body cameras to firing police officers found guilty of misconduct, Wednesday nights are reserved for scrutiny of police practices at the San Francisco Police Commission. The seven-member civilian panel acts as the police department’s disciplinary body and officially meets once a week for a public hearing, usually at City Hall, to receive updates from department heads,...