In the aftermath of several officer involved shootings, high-profile misconduct cases and amid a national spotlight on police-community relations, SFPD in 2015 requested assistance by the U.S. Department of Justice COPS Office. Our goal: to identify areas for change to address underlying cultural and operational shortcomings.
In February 2016, the DOJ/COPS launched a six-month comprehensive review of the SFPD, with the goal to improve on the implementation of the principles of community oriented policing practices, transparency, professionalism, and accountability.
On October 12, 2016, the DOJ/COPS released its initial assessment. The COPS Office “found a department that is committed to making changes and working with community,” identified five specific areas for improvements and produced a set of recommendations to make ours an even better, more responsive police department. The areas of review included Use of Force, Bias, Community Policing, Accountability, and Hiring and Personnel Practices.
On September 15, 2017, the Department of Justice announced its withdrawal from the Collaborative Reform Process. For more information, please see: Department of Justice Announces Changes to the Collaborative Reform Initiative.
On February 5, 2018, The California Department of Justice announced its agreement to publicly evaluate and report on the implementation of the US DOJ recommendations. The CA DOJ’s independent review will help the Department in its continued efforts to promote trust, transparency and safety. For more information, please see: Mayor Mark Farrell, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Police Chief William Scott Announce Independent Evaluation of San Francisco Police Department Reforms.
Through community partnerships, organizational transformation and problem solving, the SFPD will continue to work towards building trust and mutual respect between the department and the communities we serve.
- SFPD’s Response to the DOJ/COPS Recommendations
- SFPD CRI Documents
In February 2016, the SFPD established the Professional Standards and Principled Policing Bureau (PSPPB) to oversee the proposed DOJ/COPS reforms to increase public safety, build greater trust between police officers and the community, and make the department more responsive, transparent and accountable. Some fundamental documents for the program are linked below:
- Mayor Lee's Letter to BOS on Police UOF Reforms Work Plan
- Mayor Lee's Request for U.S. DOJ to Investigate Mario Woods OIS
- MOU Between USDOJ, COPS and SFPD for Collaborative Reform Initiative For Technical Assistance
- DOJ/COPS Collaborative Reform Initiative: An Assessment of the San Francisco Police Department, October 2016
- Mayor Lee's Statement on the Release of the U.S. DOJ Collaborative Review Regarding the SFPD
- Interim Chief Chaplin's Letter to the Members of the SFPD Regarding the Release of the U.S. DOJ Collaborative Review
- 2016 DOJ/COPS Collaborative Reform Initiative SFPD Recommendations Response (Status as of 12/6/2023)
- SFPD Integrated Numerical Index 11/18/16 (Revised on 12/19/16)
- 17-159 DOJ CRI Report One-Year Anniversary
- DB 19-015 SFPD Collaborative Reform Update
- SFPD Collaborative Reform Initiative Phase I - Initial Progress Report (Hillard Heintze, 5/16/19)
- SFPD Collaborative Reform Initiative Phase II - 18 Month Progress Report (Hillard Heintze 3/4/20)
- SFPD Collaborative Reform Initiative Phase III - Final Assessment Report (Hillard Heintze 5/11/22)
- SFPD Professional Standards Presentations to the Police Commission
To view presentations made by the Professional Standards and Principled Policing Bureau with regard to reform updates, see below:
- 05/04/16 Presentation: SFPD Reform Update
- 06/01/16 Presentation: Professional Standards & Principled Policing Bureau Update
- 08/10/16 Presentation: Reform and the Professional Standards & Principled Policing Bureau Update
- 09/14/16 Presentation: SFPD Reform Initiative Update
- 10/12/16 Presentation: SFPD Reform Initiative Update
- 11/15/16 Presentation: Department of Justice – CRI/TA – Reform Update
- 12/21/16 Presentation: Department of Justice – CRI/TA – Reform Update
- 01/11/17 Presentation: Department of Justice – CRI/TA – Reform Update
- 08/07/19 Presentation: DGO 3.01 - Departmental Communications
- 06/03/20 Presentation: Racial & Identity Profiling Advisory Board 2019 Annual Report & Q1-2020 96A Report
- 07/01/20 Presentation: Collaborative Reform Update
- 08/19/20 Presentation: Collaborative Reform Update
- External Agency Recommendations to the SFPD
President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
The Task Force on 21st Century Policing was established in December 2014 by President Barack Obama. The Task Force identified best practices and offered 58 recommendations on how policing practices can promote effective crime reduction while building public trust. The SFPD recognized 38 of the 58 recommendations were directly applicable to law enforcement departments.
The Task Force recommendations are centered on six main objectives: Building Trust and Legitimacy, Policy and Oversight, Technology and Social Media, Community Policing and Crime Reduction, Officer Training and Education, and Officer Safety and Wellness.
To review the report in its entirety, click on: Final Report of The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
To review SFPD’s Response, click on: SFPD’s Review and Response of the Final Report of The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
In response to the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, the Department of Police Accountability (DPA), formerly called the Office of Citizen Complaints (OCC) made 19 recommendations to the San Francisco Police Department, to help strengthen the rapport between the SFPD and the community. To review the DPA/OCC’s recommendations, click on: San Francisco Office of Citizen Complaints Recommendations to Enhance Police-Community Relations in Response to the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing
Blue Ribbon Panel
The Blue Ribbon Panel was established in May 2015 as an advisory body to San Francisco’s District Attorney Office, to investigate the existence and extent of institutional bias within the SFPD.
The Panel made 81 recommendations for change including Use of Force Policy, internal and external oversight. To view the report published in July 2016, click on: Blue Ribbon Panel on Transparency, Accountability, and Fairness in Law Enforcement
The Bar Association of San Francisco’s Criminal Justice Task Force
Under California’s Racial and Identity Profiling Act, Assembly Bill (AB) 953, law enforcement agencies must collect and report data about law enforcement stops. The Bar Association of San Francisco’s Criminal Justice Task Force provided the SFPD with recommendations to increase effective data gathering and analysis.
To review the report, click on: Report and Recommendations: Data Collection and Analysis – BASF Criminal Justice Task Force