San Francisco Police Tout Use-of-Force Drop—No Shootings for Nearly a Year

By Evan Sernoffsky, San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco police report using force in 30% fewer cases three years after launching a sweeping reform effort following controversial killings that inflamed tension between officers and some communities they serve, officials said.

Deja (center) and Cassandra Grant (right) lead protesters demanding justice for Mario Woods, the Bayview man shot and killed by police nearly two months ago, on a march down Market Street to the site of Super Bowl City in San Francisco, Calif. on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle

Deja (center) and Cassandra Grant (right) lead protesters demanding justice for Mario Woods, the Bayview man shot and killed by police nearly two months ago, on a march down Market Street to the site of Super Bowl City in San Francisco, Calif. on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle

The last police shooting in San Francisco came June 9, marking the start of the longest span without an officer-involved shooting in nearly two decades, Chief Bill Scott said. He credits the dip to a new and stricter use-of-force policy and training that emphasizes de-escalating tense situations, as well as broader crisis intervention training that all officers have received.

Scott, though, acknowledged the department has more work to do. Of 272 reforms recommended by the U.S. Department of Justice after a top-to-bottom review in 2016, less than one-quarter have been deemed accomplished, he said.

Scott’s comments came in an interview as Hillard Heintze, an independent law enforcement consulting agency brought in to oversee the improvements, prepared to update the San Francisco Police Commission on Wednesday on the department’s progress. A detailed report on the reform initiative is expected in the coming weeks.

“What I’m trying to illustrate is, with the training and all the things the men and women in the department are doing to get better, we are seeing some positive outcomes,” Scott said. “We have a lot of work to do, but we’re pleased with the outcomes and it shows our commitment to this work.”

Officials from Hillard Heintze have not discussed the changes publicly since being hired by the state attorney general’s office, which took over a review of San Francisco police in February 2018 after the Trump administration ceased the Justice Department’s collaborative reform program.

Read full article