San Francisco Police Department
|San Francisco Police Department|
The current patch of the San Francisco Police Department.
Vehicle Door Decal San Francisco Police Department
The current Officer's badge of the San Francisco Police Department.
Commemorative Decal of the San Francisco Police Department
|Motto||Oro en paz, fierro en guerra
Gold in peace, iron in war
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
|Operations jurisdiction*||State of California, USA|
|Jurisdiction of the San Francisco Police Department,|
|Legal jurisdiction||San Francisco, California|
|Governing body||San Francisco Police Commission|
|Overviewed by Board||San Francisco Police Commission|
|Headquarters||Police Headquarters 1245 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94158|
|Agency executive||William Scott, Chief of Police|
|* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.|
The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) is the city police department of the City and County of San Francisco, California. The department's motto is the same as that of the city and county: Oro en paz, fierro en guerra, archaic Spanish for Gold in peace, iron in war.
The SFPD should not be confused with the San Francisco Sheriff's Department, which is another, county, law enforcement agency within San Francisco. The SFPD (along with the San Francisco Fire Department and the San Francisco Sheriff's Department) serves an estimated population of 1.2 million, including the daytime-commuter population and the thousands of other tourists and visitors, in the second most densely populated large city in North America. It is the 11th largest police department in the United States.
- 1 History
- 2 Organization
- 3 Equipment
- 4 Ranking structure
- 5 San Francisco Police Reserve Officers
- 6 SWAT
- 7 Housing Authority Police
- 8 C.R.U.S.H.
- 9 Motor Division
- 10 Aero Division
- 11 Police Academy
- 12 Headquarters
- 13 Uniform
- 14 In popular media
- 15 Controversies
- 16 Stations
- 17 Fallen officers
- 18 Demographics
- 19 SFPD chiefs of police
- 20 See also
- 21 References
- 22 External links
The SFPD began operations on August 13, 1849, during the Gold Rush under the command of Captain Malachi Fallon. At the time, Chief Fallon had a force of one deputy captain, three sergeants and 30 officers.
In 1851, Albert Bernard de Russailh wrote about the nascent San Francisco police force:
As for the police, I have only one thing to say. The police force is largely made up of ex-bandits, and naturally the members are interested above all in saving their old friends from punishment. Policemen here are quite as much to be feared as the robbers; if they know you have money, they will be the first to knock you on the head. You pay them well to watch over your house, and they set it on fire. In short, I think that all the people concerned with justice or the police are in league with the criminals. The city is in a hopeless chaos, and many years must pass before order can be established. In a country where so many races are mingled, a severe and inflexible justice is desirable, which would govern with an iron hand.
On October 28, 1853, the Board of Aldermen passed Ordinance No. 466, which provided for the reorganization of the police department. Sections one and two provided as follows:
The People of the City of San Francisco do ordain as follows:
Sec. 1. The Police Department of the City of San Francisco, shall be composed of a day and night police, consisting of 56 men (including a Captain and assistant Captain), each to be recommended by at least ten tax-paying citizens.Sec. 2. There shall be one Captain and one assistant Captain of Police, who shall be elected in joint convention of the Board of Aldermen and assistant Aldermen. The remainder of the force, viz., 54 men, shall be appointed as follows: By the Mayor, 2; by the City Marshal, 2; by the City Recorder, 2; and by the Aldermen and assistant Aldermen, 3 each.
In July 1856, the "Consolidation Act" went into effect. This act abolished the office of City Marshal and created in its stead the office of Chief of Police. The first Chief of Police elected in 1856 was James F. Curtis a former member of the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance.
The SFPD is known for being one of the pioneering forces for modern law enforcement, beginning in the early 1900s.
In early August 1975, the SFPD went on strike over a pay dispute, violating a California law prohibiting police from striking. The city quickly obtained a court order declaring the strike illegal and enjoining the SFPD back to work. The court messenger delivering the order was met with violence and the SFPD continued to strike. Only managers and African-American officers remained on duty, with 45 officers and three fire trucks responsible for a city population of 700,000. Supervisor Dianne Feinstein pleaded Mayor Joseph Alioto to ask Governor Jerry Brown to call out the National Guard to patrol the streets but Alioto refused. When enraged civilians confronted SFPD officers at the picket lines, the officers arrested them. Heavy drinking on the picket line became common and after striking SFPD officers started shooting out streetlights, the ACLU obtained a court order prohibiting strikers from carrying their service revolvers. Again, the SFPD ignored the court order. On August 20 a bomb detonated at the Mayor's Presidio Terrace home with a sign reading "Don't Threaten Us" left on his lawn. On August 21 Mayor Alioto advised the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that they should concede to the strikers' demands. The Supervisors unanimously refused. Mayor Alioto immediately then declared a state of emergency, assumed legislative powers, and granted the strikers' demands. City Supervisors and taxpayers sued but the court found that a contract obtained through an illegal strike is still legally enforceable.
As of September 8, 2011, ground was broken for San Francisco's new Public Safety Building (PSB) down in Mission Bay. A replacement facility for the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Headquarters and Southern District Police Station currently located at 850 Bryant, the PSB will also contain a fire station to serve the burgeoning neighborhood.
In 2014, the San Francisco Police academy graduated its first publicly reported transgender police officer, Mikayla Connell.
The head of the SFPD is the Chief of Police. The most recent Chief is Greg Suhr who resigned on May 19, 2016 at the request of Mayor Ed Lee. Suhr was appointed despite a recent demotion sequelae to controversy involving official misconduct. He was chosen by Mayor Ed Lee to fill the post left by Chief George Gascon, who resigned on January 9, 2011 to accept an appointment as San Francisco District Attorney by Mayor Gavin Newsom. The San Francisco DA's position had become vacant after then-District Attorney Kamala Harris won her bid in November 2010 to become California's Attorney General.
The Chief works with six deputy chiefs directing the four bureaus: Administration, Airport, Field Operations, and Investigations, as well as the Municipal Transportation Authority, and the Public Utilities Commission. With the exception of the bureau of Investigations, three commanders are assigned to each bureau to assist the deputy chiefs.
The SFPD has several types of vehicles in use, among them the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, Chevrolet Tahoe, and more recently the 2013 Ford Taurus and 2013 Ford Explorer. Like most police agencies throughout California, SFPD patrol units are painted in black clearcoat with the roof, doors, and pillars painted white from the factory. The front doors bear a blue seven-pointed star with the letters "S.F.P.D." printed in gold. This decal is also printed on the trunk, either near the center of the decklid (on sedans) or near the right taillight (on SUVs). The car's 'shop number' (used to identify all vehicles operated by the city) is printed on the front doors below the A-pillars, on the trunk near the left rear taillight, and on the roof to help air units visually identify cars. On the rear side panels on both sides of the car is a sticker reading "EMERGENCY DIAL 911".
The Administration Bureau is responsible for providing support to other bureaus of SFPD, as well as other city agencies. The bureau is split into seven units or divisions:
- Behavioral Science Unit comprises the Employee Assistance program, the Peer Support Program, the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT), the Stress Unit, Catastrophic Illness Program, and the Chaplain's program. Its function is to provide support to members of SFPD who struggle with personal issues.
- Fiscal Division consists of the Accounting Section, the Grant Unit, the Fleet Unit, and Property Control. Its function is to oversee the entire SFPD budget and to respond to audits from federal or state agencies.
- Planning Division provides functional support to the Department. It performs functions such as facilities maintenance, equipment repair, written directives, informational system management, and informational technology and telecommunication support.
- Risk Management consists of the Legal Section, Management Control Section, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Section. Its function is to provide oversight and review of policies, procedure development, and compliance.
- Staff Services Division is responsible for processing personnel files, performing background checks of employees, human resources, and hiring and promotion.
- Support Services Division consists of the Taxi Detail, the Permit Unit, and the Report Management Section. Its functions include regulation of commercial vehicles, issuance of permits, and data storage.
- Training and Education Division is responsible for training new recruits and current officers.
The Airport Bureau of the San Francisco Police Department was established on July 1, 1997, as the successor to the San Francisco International Airport Police. The Airport Police department was closed after a local referendum. The Airport Bureau is responsible for the security and safety of San Francisco International Airport. Besides providing basic police services, this bureau also oversees the airport's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security plans and plays a critical role in the airport's emergency response capabilities.
Field Operations Bureau
The Field Operations Bureau (FOB) is responsible for the reduction of crime around the city. The bureau is split into several units:
- The Patrol Unit is split between two divisions: Metro and Golden Gate, both of which provide patrol around the city. Both divisions have five stations supported by FOB staff members. Besides patrol, this unit also assists the district station event coordinators with large scale city events, and provides security at those events.
- The Fugitive Recovery Enforcement Team (FRET) is responsible for apprehending fugitives. It works closely with federal and state agencies in tracking down criminals at large.
- The Homeland Security Unit – which previously operated as a separate bureau, and is now incorporated into the FOB – responds to the need for heightened security in the United States. It works closely with other agencies to enhance the overall security of the city.
- The Traffic Company is responsible for traffic law enforcement throughout the city. Its function includes the investigation of car accidents and handling of traffic at special events.
- The Youth Services Unit is a program established to provide youths with an alternative to gang life.
The Investigations Bureau is split into five divisions:
- The Forensic Services Division consists of Computer Forensics Unit, Criminalistics Laboratory, Crime Scene Investigation, ID/Records Section, Photographic Unit, and Polygraph Unit. Its main function is to recover and process evidence.
- The Property Crimes Division consists of the following bureaus: Auto Detail, Burglary, Fencing, Lost and Found, Financial Elder Abuse, Fraud, Hit and Run, and Neighborhood Investigation. Its main function is to investigate crimes such as auto theft, burglary, hit and run, DUI, fraud, and arson. The division is also responsible for recovering stolen property and investigating animal attacks.
- The Personal Crimes Division consists of: General Works, Homicide, Sexual Assault, Robbery, and Special Investigation Section. Its main function is to investigate serious crimes such as homicide, rape, and robbery, track down illegal firearms, and handle extradition of criminals. The Special Investigation Section is a special division that is responsible for investigating bomb threats, hate crimes, gang violence, and providing security detail to the Mayor.
- The Juvenile and Family Services Division's main function is to investigate domestic violence, Internet crimes, and missing persons cases.
- The Narcotics and Vice Division investigates trafficking of narcotics and other illicit vices around the city.
Crime Prevention Company
The Crime Prevention Company, known as the (TAC) Unit, is the operator in charge of the various specialty units of the SFPD. This includes the SFPD SWAT teams, the SFPD Honda-Bike Unit, Anti-Gang Units, and special security details for celebrities, politicians, and foreign dignitaries. It also includes the on-call police dog K-9 Units. The officers that fall under this unit, or company, have specialized training and roles in addition to being regular Patrol Officers.
The standard issue side arms issued by the SFPD are the SIG Sauer P226 and SIG Sauer P229 chambered in .40 S&W. Officers also carry batons (straight wood/straight expandable), pepper spray, a portable radio and handcuffs.
The SFPD has supplemental levels for ranks up to Captain, depending on P.O.S.T. certification. Example; Q-2, Q-3 or Q-4 Police Officer for Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) certification. The department no longer issues the title of inspector, instead these roles are performed by Sergeants. Inspectors do not use chevrons to identify their rank—instead they wear a gold star badge similar to lieutenants and above. Sergeants and Officers wear a silver star badge. Inspectors were initially the equivalent of a Lieutenant rank and pay, but are now equivalent to a Sergeant rank and pay. Tenured officers will have blue and gold hash-marks on the lower left sleeve of their Class A or B long-sleeved shirts. Each mark represents five years of service.
SFPD members are also eligible for bronze, silver, and gold Medals of Valor. Annually the nominees for these awards are reviewed by a board of police captains. A Meritorious Conduct Award can also be awarded to department members.
San Francisco Police Reserve Officers
The San Francisco Police Reserve Officer Unit is composed of individuals who wish to provide community service and give back to the city they live or work in. These officers understand the need for quality policing and community involvement, but cannot make the full commitment on becoming full-time peace officers.
A San Francisco Police Reserve Officer is a POST (Police Officer Standards and Training)-certified peace officer who volunteers his or her time. A Reserve Officer is classified as a Q-0 and has the same duties and authority as a full-time paid Police Officer while on duty. Officers patrol in vehicles, on bikes, on foot, and in some cases on marine craft. Reserve officers must meet the same stringent and comprehensive POST standards and training as regular full-time police officers. Most San Francisco Police Reserve Officers are Level 1 Reserve Officers, which is the highest level that is recognized by the State of California. The SFPD does accept Level 2 or Level 3 Reserve Officers, but based upon their respective levels which determine how a Reserve Officer is deployed.
Reserve Officers are responsible for serving a minimum of 24 volunteer hours per month to retain peace officers status, although there are Reserve Officers who routinely contribute two to three times that amount.
Reserve Officers are involved in many areas of police work. Although most reserve officers actively participate in patrol, others work for such details as Muni, the Fugitive Recovery Enforcement Team, Vice, juvenile, emergency operations, DUI check-points, transporting prisoners, Command Van duty, and fixed posts at special events like 49er Football games and Sigmund Stern Grove performances.
Reserves are now organized like a company, with a complement of 40 Reserve Officers divided into three squads, each with a designated squad sergeant. For special events like New Year's Eve, Halloween night, and other citywide events, Reserves are assigned as a squad.
Before Reserve candidates are considered, they must meet the same eligibility criteria as a Q-2 Police Officer Recruit. Furthermore, each candidate must completed the required training prior to being appointed as a Reserve Police Officer. Once appointed, that officer must attend Continuing Professional Training, which is consistent with the requirements of regular full-time Officers every two years. There is also a 400-hour Field Training Program that Level 1 Reserves Officers must complete with a FTO officer. Reserve officers are held to the same performance standards as a full-time Police Officer and serve at the pleasure of the Chief of Police.
San Francisco has been known for their elite SWAT team, composed of volunteer and selected officers from the entire agency. Most training is done in-house, with occasional and required training by FBI instructors, other Federal Agencies and private Military instruction. The SWAT division participates in planned and coordinated raids with agencies such as the FBI, DEA, and the ATF. As of recently (2007) it is mandatory that SWAT team members are together, sometimes during routine patrol, and can be seen among the streets of San Francisco in BDU and traveling in a marked SUV, to ensure a quick and timely response to calls. They were under political fire in the highly publicized 1998 Western Addition Raid, in which more than 90 SFPD SWAT and Federal Agents raided a Western Addition housing project. The SWAT team also executes high-risk warrants in the City and County of San Francisco. They are also among one of the oldest serving agencies doing city crime suppression (the act of saturating high-crime areas with large amounts of officers and police presence—a more proactive approach) along with LAPD SWAT and NYPD Emergency Service Units.
Housing Authority Police
The San Francisco Housing Authority Police was formed as an offshoot of the department in 1938 to patrol the various housing projects of the city. In the 1990s they were completely absorbed back into the main Police Department.
In the mid-1990s, San Francisco experienced the explosion of drug-related homicides, which escalated to approximately 40 murders. Then-Chief Fred Lau sought the expertise of his veteran homicide Inspectors, Napoleon Hendrix (now deceased) and Prentice "Earl" Sanders (later Chief of Police), to put together a "top notch" task force, called CRime Unit to Stop Homicide, to solve and suppress the murders and investigate violent illegal narcotics cell groups and other violent crimes. Inspector Bob McMillan, Officer Nash Balinton and his partner Officer Paul Lozada, Officer Mike Bolte, Officer Michael Philpott, and Sergeants John Monroe, Maurice Edwards and Kervin Silas, were personally selected to the unit by the Inspectors.
The SFPD was one of the founding departments in the field of utilizing Police motorcycles (along with their counterparts across the bay in Berkeley). The unit was founded in 1909, and has grown ever since. They are officially under the command of the SFPD Traffic Division. They participate in many duties such as traffic enforcement, patrol, riot control, and special events and escorts. It is the only fully functional department that utilizes the entire traffic fleet for escorts in the nation. No other metropolitan city utilizes all its motor bikes for escorts but SFPD.
The entire 85-man unit is based at the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant Street. Unlike most cities, they patrol as solo officers (hence the name SOLOS). They can frequently be seen throughout the city. The bulk of the unit is composed of Harley-Davidson Road King motorcycles. There is a separate division that is composed of Suzuki DR-Z400S dual-sport motorcycles (which is under the command of the Tactical Unit and not the same as Traffic), for city patrol and patrol in and around the area of Golden Gate Park. Otherwise, every one of the 10 main police stations in the city have 2 motorcycles under their command, used for patrol around their districts exclusively.
The SFPD "Aero" Squadron was at its peak in the mid-1970s, with the number of helicopter and small plane flights rivaling the frequency of the Los Angeles Police Department. After several accidents (one of which a helicopter crashed in Lake Merced, killing Officer Charles Logasa in 1971) and complaints about the "Eye in the Sky" program, the unit was disbanded. The helicopter unit was featured prominently in the first Dirty Harry film, identifying a sniper on a roof top before a murder was committed. The unit was reactivated in the late 1990s, but after another fatal crash (which killed two SFPD officers, Kirk Bradley Brookbush and James Francis Dougherty) the Aero unit was put into an "inactive" status indefinitely. In times where it needs air support, the SFPD contacts the California Highway Patrol who has a Napa air base.
The original San Francisco Police Academy was built in 1895 and was located on the West End adjacent to Golden Gate Park. The building, no longer in use, had the facilities to accommodate 25 trainees. In the 1960s, the building now used as the San Francisco Police Academy Complex was built originally as Diamond Heights Elementary School located at 350 Amber Drive, just behind the Diamond Heights Safeway. The building was built in the 1960s hugging the Diamond Heights/Glen Park Canyon. Almost immediately upon completion, the property was determined to be unsafe and sliding into the canyon. The school was closed for one year, shored up and reopened. It was closed as a public school in the 1980s. Subsequently, the building is used by the SFPD for training. It is surrounded by a heavily wooded forest area and is near a shopping mall and apartment complex. As of recently (2008), there are three academy classes in session annually, with individual classes taking place for 31 to 32 weeks, year round. Pier 94 is also used for vehicle training exercises and mock police car chases, and Lake Merced is the location of the Academy's firing range. With a boom in retirees in the coming years, a projected 700+ officers will be hired within the next 5–10 years, meaning full academy classes for some time. Lateral officers are currently being hired, and are being hired on an ongoing basis.
SFPD headquarters was located for a number of years at the San Francisco Thomas J. Cahill Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant Street, which houses a number of criminal courts, jail facilities, investigative and support units, as well as "Southern Station". The Headquarters of the San Francisco Sheriff's Department in housed in an adjacent building. On April 16, 2015, the SFPD officially moved its headquarters to a new location at Mission Bay.
- The standard uniform is composed of a dark blue shirt and pants, with black braid, brass buttons which are stamped with the city seal and "SF POLICE." The black braid down the length of the pant increases in width as one advances up the ranks.
- Mounted police have a gold stripe going down the uniform pants
- Traffic Company have the "winged wheel" patch on the right sleeve of any long sleeve garment
- The Peaked cap of the officers has an 8-Point design unlike the "air force smooth cap" design of the LAPD or SFFD. The hat is adorned with a brass hat piece depicting the Arms of San Francisco.
- The uniform "badge" for Officers rank is a sterling silver seven-point star of a design basically unchanged since 1849. The terms "badge" or "shield" are not used by the department in any form. Officers' badges are smooth polished metal, while those of Sergeants and above have decorative engraved designs. Those of Inspectors and above are 10k gold-filled badges instead of silver.
- The uniform originally had no patch, as with officers of the LAPD. It was not until 1969 that the patch, incorporating the San Francisco crest of arms, phoenix and city motto was added the uniform in 1970, adorning both sleeves.
In popular media
The SFPD has been portrayed in films such as The Sniper, Vertigo, Freebie and the Bean, The Laughing Policeman, Bullitt, the Dirty Harry film series, 48 Hrs., A View to a Kill, Metro, Rush Hour, and Zodiac, as well as television series such as The Lineup (aka San Francisco Beat), Ironside, The Streets of San Francisco, McMillan & Wife, Nash Bridges, The Division, Killer Instinct, The Evidence, Charmed (1998–2006), Murder in the First and Monk. The Dirty Harry film series is known for shaping the popular view of the department, with a hard-nosed stance on crime and often using "cowboy" tactics (shoot first, stakeouts, and preemptive raids).
In the days of old-time radio, there were a number of drama series built around the activities of the SFPD. Carlton E. Morse created four different shows based on SFPD files for NBC's Pacific Coast Network, Chinatown Squad, Barbary Coast Nights, Killed in Action, and To the Best of Their Ability.
The SFPD has also had a strong presence in novels and short stories. Sidney Herschel Small wrote a series of thirty stories that appeared in Detective Fiction Weekly between 1931 and 1936 featuring Sergeant Jimmy Wentworth, the head of the Chinatown Squad, whose adventures were presumably based, if loosely, on the activities of Jack Manion, the real-life commander of SFPD's Chinatown detail. In the early 1960s, Breni James wrote two novels about Sergeant Gun Mattson, uniformed patrol supervisor at the Ingleside District Station, The Night of the Kill (1961), which was an Edgar nominee for Best First Novel, and The Shakeup (1964). Ernest K. Gann's 1963 novel, Of Good and Evil, tells the story of one busy day in the professional life of San Francisco's police chief, Colin Hill, a character apparently modeled on SFPD's real-life chief at that time, Thomas J. Cahill, to whom the book is dedicated. More recently, Collin Wilcox wrote a long series featuring Lieutenant Frank Hastings of SFPD's Homicide Detail. Laurie R. King won an Edgar for her first novel, A Grave Talent (1993), which introduced Homicide Inspector Kate Martinelli, who has gone on to headline such books as With Child (1997), an Edgar nominee, and The Art of Detection (2006), winner of the Lambda Award for Best Lesbian Mystery Novel. James Patterson's novels about Homicide Inspector Lindsay Boxer, introduced in 1st to Die (2001), have become best-sellers, and were the basis for the short-lived TV series Women's Murder Club. Former SFPD detective and current Bay Area private investigator Jerry Kenneally has written two novels featuring Homicide Inspector Jack Kordic, The Conductor (1996) and The Hunted (1999). After a trilogy of police novels set in other parts of the Bay Area, retired San Jose Police Chief Joseph D. McNamara wrote one novel, Code 211 Blue (1996), about a narcotics inspector who uncovers corruption within the SFPD. Another former cop, Robin Burcell, who spent twenty years in law enforcement, first as an officer in the Lodi Police, then later as a criminal investigator for the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office, wrote four novels featuring Homicide Inspector Kate Gillespie, the first of which, Every Move She Makes (1999), won the Barry for Best Paperback Original, and the third of which, Deadly Legacy (2003), won the Anthony in the same category.
Some San Francisco-set police novels have explored The City's rich history. With Siberia Comes a Chill (1990), by former Inyo County Deputy Sheriff Kirk Mitchell, features SFPD Homicide Inspector John Kost who, in April 1945, while conducting a murder investigation as the United Nations is meeting for the first time in San Francisco, finds himself pitted against an NKVD assassin. White Rabbit by David Daniels, set during 1967's Summer of Love, follows Homicide Inspector John Sparrow as he pursues a serial killer stalking the residents of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.
A future version of the SFPD play a minor role in a handful of missions in the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare computer game, most notably they assist the military in stopping a van carrying drones to destroy the Golden Gate Bridge. Unfortunately they fail, resulting in the destruction of the bridge, pinning down an aircraft carrier. The main protagonist saves one SFPD sergeant from plunging to his death from the wreckage of the bridge. Most main protagonists of the iOS novel Cause of Death are officers of the SFPD. In fact, a main protagonist of the game (Malachi "Mal" Fallon) has his name taken from that of Malachi Fallon of the real SFPD.
The SFPD has been fictionalized in the 2004 video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as the San Fierro Police Department and in the 2014 animated film Big Hero 6 as the San Fransokyo Police Department.
The character of Beau from Colony is a 30-year veteran of the department.
The SFPD has been frequently met with criticism, due to problems of accountability and corruption that plagued the department early in its inception. In 1937, an investigation, referred to as the "Atherton Report," by District Attorney Matthew Brady found that more than $1 million per year was being pocketed by officers from regular payoffs by prostitution, gambling and other criminal interests. It has also dealt with attacks such as the Preparedness Day Bombing in 1916 and the San Francisco Police Department Park Station bombing in the 1960s by leftist radicals.
Recent examples of controversy include racist and homophobic texts , police shootings of citizens, the reaction to Critical Mass bicycle rides and protests in the Financial District against U.S. foreign policy. The rate of complaints against officers and "excessive force" cases are lower relative to other big-city departments, such as the LAPD, the NYPD, or CPD. But the city continues to have one of the highest complaint rates, particularly when analyzed on a per-capita basis, factoring in the relatively small population of San Francisco compared to Los Angeles or New York. This could be attributed to several factors, including the dramatic increase of so-called "transient population", or those coming to visit the city (increasing the population to approximately 1.3 million), or the proactive nature of the Office of Citizen Complaints, or OCC. The OCC, created by San Francisco City Charter, has been known to solicit complaints from people contacted by police. While the volume of initial complaints appears high, the volume of sustained complaints against officers is very low for a department of its size.
Notable incidents and events include the Golden Dragon massacre, a deadly shooting between Chinese gang members in the city's Chinatown district; the 101 California Street shootings in 1993; and the death of Aaron Williams while in police custody in 1995. In the latter case, several officers were charged with using excessive force, including Marc Andaya, described as having kicked Williams when he was on the ground. After two years and revelations of numerous complaints and two federal lawsuits against Andaya as an officer with the Oakland Police Department before he moved to San Francisco, in June 1997 Andaya was fired by the San Francisco Police Commission. Van Jones and the Bay City PoliceWatch were credited with organizing and keeping up community pressure against the department on this case.
November 20, 2002: A scandal known as "Fajitagate" occurred when three off-duty police officers—Matthew Tonsing, David Lee, and Alex Fagan Jr.—assaulted two San Francisco residents, Adam Snyder and Jade Santoro, over a bag of fajitas. Alex Fagan Jr. is the son of SFPD Assistant Chief Alex Fagan, who later became Chief. Nine officers and Chief Earl Sanders were involved in a cover-up regarding the fight. This incident has led to a grand jury indictment of the parties involved. However, unable to prove that a cover-up existed, the district attorney dropped the charges against former Chief Earl Sanders. Acting Chief Alex Fagan also resigned. In 2006, a civil jury found former officers Fagan and Tonsing liable for damages suffered in the beating, awarding plaintiffs Snyder and Santoro $41,000 in compensation.
In 2011,[when?] the FBI opened an investigation into alleged police misconduct. Public Defender Jeff Adachi released video footage from security cameras that showed different cases of SFPD officers entering apartments without warrants, plain-clothed officers not displaying badges, and officers removing belongings that were never accounted for in police reports and other court documents. The misconduct resulted in the DA dismissing 57 criminal cases because the scandal had compromised them.
In 2012, 12 employees (sworn or unsworn) of the department were charged with crimes. Seven were cited for drunk driving, three for theft, one for possession of drug paraphernalia and one for unauthorized access to official databases.
The SFPD has been criticized for the high salaries received by staff. Due to the high cost of living in the Bay Area, SFPD officers' starting salary is the highest in the country, at $81,380 to $113,282. Greg Suhr, is the highest-paid police chief in the country, at $321,577.
2014–2016 Racist Texting Scandal
In 2016, Jason Lai and other San Francisco police officers were found to have sent racist texts. Officer Lai turned himself in to be arraigned. The incident was discovered during investigation of an alleged sexual assault involving the Taraval Station.
Justice Department report
In October 2016, The Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services released a 432-page report stating that the SFPD stops and searches African Americans at a higher rate than other groups, and inadequately investigates officers' use of force. They uncovered "numerous indicators of implicit and institutionalized bias against minority groups." A large majority of suspects killed by police were people of color. The report recommended 272 reforms to the department.
The SFPD currently has 10 main police stations throughout the city in addition to a number of police substations.
- 1) Central Station: 766 Vallejo St. San Francisco, CA 94133
- 2) Mission Station: 630 Valencia St. San Francisco, CA 94110
- 3) Northern Station: 1125 Fillmore St. San Francisco, CA 94115
- 4) Southern Station, Public Safety Building: 1251 3rd St. San Francisco, CA 94103
- 5) Tenderloin Station: 301 Eddy St. San Francisco, CA 94102
Golden Gate Division:
- 6) Bayview Station: 201 Williams Ave. San Francisco, CA 94124
- 7) Ingleside Station: 1 Sgt. John V. Young Ln. San Francisco, CA 94112-2408
- 8) Park Station: 1899 Waller Street San Francisco, CA 94117
- 9) Richmond Station: 461 6th Ave San Francisco, CA 94118
- 10) Taraval Station: 2345 24th Ave. San Francisco, CA 94116
Sub Station and Special Division
- 11) San Francisco Police Academy: 350 Amber Dr San Francisco, CA 94131
- 12) San Francisco International Airport Police: International Terminal, 5th floor
Since the establishment of the San Francisco Police Department, 102 officers have died in the line of duty.
The causes of death are as follows:
|Cause of death||# of deaths|
|Struck by streetcar||
|Struck by vehicle||
- Male: 85%
- Female: 15%
- White: 60%
- Hispanic: 13%
- Asian: 13%
- African-American/Black: 10%
- Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 4%
- Native American: 1%
The diversity of the department has increased significantly since 1972, when only 150 of the department's 2000 officers were of a non-white background.
SFPD chiefs of police
|John W. McKenzie||?–1856|
|James F. Curtis||1856–1858|
|Martin J. Burke||1858–1866|
|Theodore G. Cockrill||1873–1875|
|Henry H. Ellis||1875–1877|
|Isaiah W. Lees||1897–1900|
|William P. Sullivan||1900–1901|
|Jeremiah F. Dinan||1905–1907|
|William J. Biggy||1907–1908|
|Jesse B. Cook||1908–1910|
|John B. Martin||1910|
|David A. White||1911–1920|
|Daniel J. O'Brien||1920–1928|
|William J. Quinn||1929–1940|
|Charles W. Dullea||1940–1947|
|Francis J. Ahern||1956–1958|
|Thomas J. Cahill||1958–1970|
|Alfred J. Nelder||1970–1971|
|Donald M. Scott||1971–1975|
|Corneilius P. Murphy||1980–1986|
|Frank M. Jordan||1986–1990|
|Richard D. Hongisto||1992|
|Fred H. Lau||1996–2002|
|Prentice E. Sanders||2002–2003|
- List of law enforcement agencies in California
- San Francisco Police Officers Association
- San Francisco District Attorney's Office
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