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Supes confirm Paul Henderson as head of Department of Police Accountability

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Paul Henderson, who previously ran for a Superior Court judgeship, has been confirmed as head of the Department of Police Accountability. (Courtesy photo)

The new director for San Francisco’s Department of Police Accountability, Paul Henderson, was unanimously confirmed Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.

Henderson, who was nominated by the Police Commission for the job, and has been serving in the post since June 2017 as interim director, was appointed by Mayor Mark Farrell.

The Department of Police Accountability was formerly known as the Office of Citizens Complaints until November 2016, when voters approved Proposition G. That measure also gave the department more power, such as the ability to audit the Police Department. Another ballot measure in 2016, Proposition D, required investigations by the department of all police shootings.

The department also investigates all complaints regarding police use of force and misconduct.

Henderson detailed some of the needs of the department in a February budget proposal letter to Farrell.

In that letter, Henderson wrote that the Department of Police Accountability “has never secured staffing for the audit functions mandated by Proposition G in November 2016.”

“After much consultation with the Controller’s Office, our two departments are in agreement that a minimum team of five personnel are needed to properly complete expected audit functions,” he wrote.

Farrell’s budget proposal is due June 1 to the Board of Supervisors for review and adoption.

He also noted in the letter the need for $100,000 more in training. “We now have 10 OIS case, but only seven investigators with more than three years of experience,” Henderson wrote. “Over the last 10 years, training for these investigators was extremely limited, such that lack of training was chief of complaints of investigators in a survey conducted by SEIU in 2017.”

Henderson previously served as deputy chief of staff and public safety for Mayor Ed Lee and before that he was the chief of administration under then-District Attorney Kamala Harris.

“I remain excited and optimistic about the many changes at DPA,” Henderson wrote. “I am especially thrilled that this proposed budget would, for the first time, enable DPA to accomplish the new mandates in Proposition D (OIS investigations) and Proposition G (auditing).”

Supervisor Malia Cohen, who introduced both 2016 measures, said Tuesday that “I believe our city will greatly benefit from [Henderson’s] leadership.”

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