HomeTop StoriesThe San Francisco Police Department is praising progress in implementing reforms

The San Francisco Police Department is praising progress in implementing reforms

After several high-profile police shootings, including the 2015 killing of Mario Woods, the San Francisco Police Department said Friday it is nearly done adopting 272 reform objectives required by the California Department of Justice.

The reforms include everything from limiting the use of force to preventing bias in policing and hiring activities, and involving input from both the state and police federal authorities dating back to 2016.

Data released by the city on Friday shows a 65% decline in the use of force between 2016 and 2022. However, police shootings are on the rise. During the pandemic in 2021, they had dropped to a low of two, but by 2023, they had risen to five shootings.

While the department has made progress in its reform efforts, some say there is still room for improvement.

For Phelicia Jones, the ceremony at San Francisco City Hall was a milestone in a journey that began years ago when she first began pushing for greater police accountability since the 2015 officer-involved shooting of Marior Woods.

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Jones is the founder of Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community, as well as the founder of the Justice for Mario Woods Coalition.

“Even though it may be a world stage in terms of the Super Bowl, it has to be a world stage in terms of justice,” she told KPIX in 2016.

Nearly a decade later, she led a cheer in a room full of police officers, marking what everyone agrees is a step, not a finish line.

“It’s not perfect. But we’re done,” she said.

The San Francisco Police Department says it has essentially completed all 272 reforms recommended by the federal and state Departments of Justice. Mayor London Breed, in an election year, and the chief of police described it as a milestone achieved despite headwinds.

“We not only continued this work and made it happen,” Breed said. “We did this at a challenging time, following a global pandemic, where we saw crime skyrocket.”

“You’re making the adjustments to keep the balance there,” Chief Bill Scott said of the evolving reforms. “What Prop E and voters voted for, it is achievable. But our policies must still provide us with guidance to do things in the spirit of what this reform initiative is about.”

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Jones says this was a day to mark progress in an effort that doesn’t end for San Francisco, or any other city for that matter.

“We’re doing better than some, you know,” Jones said. “So, as the mayor said, and as the chief said, as an activist, the work continues. It’s not perfect. But the work continues.”

Chief Scott mentioned the Rodney King beating and the Los Angeles rampart scandal, describing this work as a continuum on a generational scale. As for the latest 27 recommendations from the police, they are still awaiting final approval.

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