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

Mayor London Breed said Tuesday that with other counties moving ahead with expanding vaccine eligibility “we want San Franciscans to have the same opportunity.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Everyone in SF ages 16 and up is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine

San Francisco expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday to everyone ages… Continue reading

Chase Center and the Golden State Warriors hosted a media Welcome Back conference to discuss the safety protocols and amenities when fans return for a basketball game on April 23rd at Chase Center on April 13, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Golden State Warriors ready to welcome fans back to Chase Center

COVID-19 tests, app-based food ordering among new safety protocols announced this week

San Francisco Park Rangers have seen their budget and staffing levels increase significantly since 2014. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Citations for being in SF’s public parks after midnight soar

Data shows disproportionate impact on Black residents

Parents and students line up socially distanced before the first day of in-person learning at Bret Harte Elementary School on Monday, April 12, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
‘It’s a beautiful sight’: The first students return to the classroom

San Francisco’s youngest public school students stepped into classrooms for in-person learning… Continue reading

File
Latest Breed nominee for Police Commission moves forward

Immigration attorney Jim Byrne clears Board of Supervisors committee

Most Read