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Professional Standards

Professional Standards

Creating the Standards

The SFPD is committed to the highest standards of professionalism as we provide Safety with Respect to the communities we serve.  In February 2016, we established the Professional Standards and Principled Policing Bureau to oversee our progress in this area.

At that time, the Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance – a U.S. Department of Justice program offering non-adversarial support for law enforcement agencies – had assessed the SFPD and provided 272 suggestions to improve its policies and practices.

On September 15, 2017, however, the Department of Justice discontinued its efforts to partner in police department improvements. The SFPD leadership remained intent on following the federal recommendations, however, and in February 2018 we announced a new collaboration with the California Department of Justice, which agreed to assume review of our progress. The state agency’s independent analysis will help the department in its continued efforts to promote trust, transparency and safety.

The Professional Standards Unit

The Professional Standards Unit is divided into four sub-units:

Compliance Support
This unit is specifically charged with assisting in the management of the Collaborative Reform Initiative.

Written Directives
The Written Directives Unit is responsible for facilitating the review, development and publication of SFPD policies, bulletins, manuals and forms.

Staff Inspections Unit
This unit is charged with identifying opportunities for improvement, eliminating duplication of effort, recommending new procedures and providing alternative strategies for change.

Business Analysis Team
This is a central clearinghouse of the department’s historical data. The team responds to requests for historical data analyses in accordance with the federal Freedom of Information Act, responses to the Clery Act, and requests from internal and interagency partners. 

Since the creation of this unit in 2016, we have also:

  • Created a new strategic plan to ensure the department is fully equipped to meet the challenges of modern-day urban policing;
  • Distributed body cameras to more than 2,000 patrol officers. These important tools increase our crime-solving capacity while also documenting our officers’ performance;
  • Expanded our cutting-edge Crisis Intervention Team, founded in 2011 to improve our response to our city’s growing challenge of potentially dangerous incidents involving the mentally ill;
  • Updated and improved our policies involving use of force. While our key focus is preventing crime, our highest priority is to protect human life.  We’re proud to report that in 2017, one year after we began training officers in a new tactical strategies, the number of incidents involving use of force – beginning with the drawing of a weapon – fell by 30 percent over the previous year.

Would you like to know more?

For any questions about the SFPD’s commitment to professional progress, you may email us at: [email protected]
To learn more about community policing, click here for a recent report on the topic by the U.S. Department of Justice, which provides a national overview of recommendations about community policing.