Commission calls for review of civilianization effort

When voters approved Proposition C more than three years ago, they expected Police Department headquarters to change, freeing up desk jobs and allowing sworn officers to walk the streets.

City officials say the process — an effort to bring in lower-paid civilians to answer phones, work front desks and even take on high-level fiscal and technology positions — has progressed with all speed.

Over the last four years, according to Mayor Gavin Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard, 102 new positions have been “civilianized,” resulting in about two dozen more officers on the street.

“One reason crime is going down is that the mayor has funded more officers to walk beats instead of sitting at their desks,” Ballard said.

But The City’s Police Commission called recently for more than just a number — they requested a City Controller’s audit to make sure officials are doing what they can to make the voters’ will become a reality.

“My feeling as a police commissioner is to get as many cops out on the street as possible,” said David Campos, the commissioner who called for the audit. He said the request was in no way a criticism of the Police Department’s efforts to civilianize. “We have to go to the Board of Supervisors with a report, and I want it to be accurate.”

There aren’t many critics to civilianization of certain positions. Even police union President Gary Delagnes said he supports the reorganization, with one caveat.

“There’s a group of officers, about 75 to 100, who are on permanent disability or medical leave,” he said. “I want to make sure there’s still a place for them at the department.”

The Controller’s Office is under no obligation to audit the department’s civilianization effort; the Police Commission’s resolution is only a suggestion, and in a way it could be redundant. The City Services Agency is already conducting a Police Effectiveness Review, set for completion in September, which is supposed to include information on a variety of police issues, including civilianization.

But the Police Commission hopes an audit will provide a more focusedreport. “I think it’s valuable to have a third party look at these with fresh eyes,” commission President Theresa Sparks said.

bbegin@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocalneighborhoods

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Giants second baseman Donovan Solano scores on a double in the seventh inning against the Dodgers at Oracle Park on July 29. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Will the Giants make the playoffs? Kris Bryant may be the answer

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner You’d be hard-pressed to find… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, a co-founder of SF Black Wallstreet, at her restaurant, Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in the La Cocina Marketplace on Friday, July 30, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

A prescribed fire at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was conducted in June 2016 to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem. (Photo courtesy Rebecca Paterson/National Park Service)
Experts, UC scientists discuss wildfires in the state’s riskiest regions

Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies… Continue reading

Fourth-grade students at Lucerne Valley Elementary School don masks and Western wear for a “Walk Through California” history day during in-person instruction. (Courtesy of Krystal Nelson)
Confusion over mask mandate for California schools sparks tension between districts and parents

By Diana Lambert EdSource Shifting rules around mask mandates at schools are… Continue reading

Diners at Teeth, a bar in the Mission District, on July 9, 2021. Teeth began using digital menus based on QR code technology in August. (Ulysses Ortega/The New York Times)

Most Read