San Francisco Needs a New Police Chief
San Francisco is a very special place. Diverse, colorful, dynamic, and in a period of rapid change, the policing needs of San Francisco are likewise unique. We have high numbers of mentally ill, intoxicated, and homeless people. We are a very divided city. And we are an international city with many immigrants and foreign visitors.
We need a police force that respects all people and can resolve conflict without escalating it. We need a police force that reflects San Francisco’s values of compassion, freedom of expression, and innovation. We need a mental health care system and homeless shelter system that compassionately cares for our most vulnerable citizens.
Most of all, we need a police force we can trust. According to President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, “Trust between law enforcement agencies and the people they protect and serve is essential in a democracy. It is key to the stability of our communities, the integrity of our criminal justice system, and the safe and effective delivery of policing services.”
Mayor Ed Lee appointed Greg Suhr Chief of Police in April 2011. Reflecting on his five year tenure, it is clear that Greg Suhr is no longer the right person to lead SFPD.
FPD needs a leader who respects all people and establishes respect as a cultural norm.
Last week, the public learned the content of the most recent racist texts exchanged by SFPD officers, obtained during an unrelated investigation.
The officers involved in the 2015 racist text scandal, also discovered during an unrelated investigation, remain on the job because although Internal Affairs had access to the texts, they declined to investigate them and the statute of limitations ran out.
On March 10, 2016, the day the jury reached the “no excessive use of force” verdict in the Alex Nieto case, one of the charged officers made this Facebook post:
The racism, dehumanization of the public, and complete disregard for ethics, rules, and common sense displayed by SFPD officers is completely unacceptable.
Messages like these are both wrong and not tolerated in other organizational cultures.
This is so much worse than we could have imagined. We need a new Police Chief and at least four Supervisors are now calling for Chief Suhr to step down and the city to start a search for his replacement.
There is something wrong with a department that supports firing an officer for improper texting but not for shooting someone in the back.
Get these officers some body cameras. That should slow them down at least.
Why Chief Suhr will soon step down… but who will replace him?… (more)