Internal affairs plan raises cops’ concerns

A plan to take city police officers off the streets to investigate other cops has the men and women in blue seeing red.

Last month, police Chief George Gascón announced a change in the way the Police Department looked into reports of police misconduct. Instead of nine officers working in the now-defunct Management Control Division, a new unit called Internal Affairs is now up and running.

Already three more officers have been assigned to the unit for administrative investigations and officer-involved shootings, but another handful of officers will be transferred in to exclusively investigate crimes committed by San Francisco’s finest.

The move is an attempt to bring the Police Department in line with police practices across the country, Gascón said. Its need was highlighted by the fact that dozens of police misconduct records have been kept from defense lawyers, a revelation that came out of the scandal at the crime lab.

“Even though a majority of allegations against police officers are unfounded, that small minority is terribly damaging to the community, to the Police Department and, on top of all that, it results in a very high liability,” he said.

But a number of officers are not happy with the move, complaining that Gascón is bringing in a Los Angeles Police Department-style management technique that focuses more on weeding out problem officers than keeping citizens safe.

San Francisco police do not have a discipline problem compared to other cities, Police Officers Association President Gary Delagnes said. Instances of problem cops came mostly out of “minor stupidity problems” rather than deep-seated corruption.

The department is also quickly losing officers to retirement and because there are no new academy classes graduating in the near future.

“We’ve got a diminishing department and we need every cop to be keeping San Francisco safe,” Delagnes said.

Gascón counters that doing something to improve discipline within the department will help keep San Franciscans safe.

“Who thinks it’s acceptable to look the other way when you have criminal conduct on the part of police?” Gascón asked.

But Delagnes said those controls are already in place. In addition to internal investigations, officers also engage in disciplinary proceedings with the Police Commission and Office of Citizen Complaints.

“I think in San Francisco, cops have enough people breathing down their neck,” Delagnes said.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsLocal

Just Posted

Niners defensive lineman Joey Bosa played a major role in stopping the Eagles in a Week 2 San Francisco victory. (Courtesy San Francisco 49ers)
What we learned from Niners beating the Eagles

By Mychael Urban Special to The Examiner Is your glass half-empty? Niners… Continue reading

If he secured a full term in the Senate, Newsom would become the most powerful Californian Democrat since Phil Burton at the height of his career, or maybe ever. <ins>(Kevin Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Artist Agnieszka Pilat, pictured with Spot the Robot Dog from Boston Robotics, has a gallery show opening at Modernism. (Courtesy Agnieszka Pilat)
Screenshots of VCs, Kanye and tech parties by the Bay

In this week’s roundup, Ben Horowitz’s surprising hip-hop knowledge and the chic tech crowd at Shack15

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, pictured in July at Oracle Park, says team members simultaneously can be “measured and calm” and “looking to push the accelerator.” (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
How Gabe Kapler sets the tone for Giants’ success with strategy, mindset

‘There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the hands-down manager of the year’

Firefighters extinguish burning material near Lake Tahoe on Sept. 3 in the wake of the Caldor Fire; environmental scientists say the huge fire is bringing to light deficiencies in forest management. <ins>(Max Whittaker/New York Times)</ins>
Cal Fire, timber industry must face an inconvenient truth

We are logging further into the wildfire and climate crisis

Most Read