Longtime Police Commissioner Petra DeJesus won the divided backing of the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee for reappointment Thursday following intense questioning on topics including police overtime, use of force policies, community policing and stun guns.
DeJesus, who was first appointed to the commission by the Board of Supervisors in 2005, completed her most recent term on April 30. She is known as a progressive voice on the commission and a skeptic on the use of stun guns, which police officials have advocated for.
Her bid for reappointment faced competition after union leader Olga Miranda applied for the position with the reported backing of Supervisor Ahsha Safai, who chairs the Rules Committee.
Miranda proved controversial, however, and a hearing on the appointment was delayed until after she dropped her application.
Safai and Board President London Breed both questioned DeJesus closely Thursday about her performance on the commission, with Breed calling out what she described as a lack of oversight on overtime spending, among other issues.
“The commission is responsible for oversight of the department, yet the overtime continues to be problematic,” Breed said. “I want to understand what your role is and how did the commission drop the ball?”
DeJesus suggested that the commission could reinstate a practice of asking for a weekly report on overtime spending from the chief.
Both Breed and Safai asked DeJesus to elaborate on her views on the use of stun guns, which have previously been voted down by the commission despite a strong push by police to see them implemented as a less-lethal option.
DeJesus said the science did not support the use of stun guns and that they carried risks and liabilities that were glossed over by manufacturers and advocates for their use. Ultimately, she said, police have many other alternatives and could avoid many officer-involved shootings with better training and tactics.
“Let’s be real critical about our training and our officers,” DeJesus said. “We have training failures, so they say reward us with a weapon. Let’s talk about training failures.”
Ultimately, the committee voted 2-1 to recommend DeJesus for reappointment, with Safai opposed. He cited his desire to see a new person on the commission.