The San Francisco District Attorney’s office announced it will implement a new community liaison program Wednesday to streamline communication between them and district offices.
The program will assign staff from the district attorney’s office with each supervisorial district to create “direct channels of communication with the district supervisor’s office,” District Attorney Chesa Boudin said. There will also be staff members available to attend community meetings, and to have targeted responses to the particular public safety issues that each neighborhood or district may face.
“The basic idea is to make sure that we are having our staff and every level of the office focus their energy on the communities that we serve in ensuring that the relationship between our office and all of San Francisco’s diverse communities is a strong one,” Boudin said.
The program pairs teams of three or four with each district, with each team having a lead who facilitates coordination of responsibilities. The goal is that community liaisons communicate and work with residents, community groups and business associations to address public safety concerns, Boudin said.
The program is building off a pilot in District 8 with Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, Boudin said. Assistant District Attorney Matt Donahue has been working as the liaison for that district for the last year, and Susan Christian has been working as the lead liaison, Mandelman said.
Mandelman said residents in his district are becoming increasingly concerned with crime in The City, and the program is “invaluable” because it gives him someone in the office he can call when neighbors are worried about someone who may be causing challenges for residents and businesses.
“So much of, I think, The City’s failure right now around some of these issues is the failure to coordinate across departments,” Mandelman said. “And I’ve found that this program … has been really quite effective in beginning to get a handle on folks who are generating public safety challenges.”
Rani Singh, who formerly served in the neighborhood prosecutor program, will work as the lead liaison in District 4. Singh said the program will be effective because it is not solely attorneys — other members of the District 4 team include an investigator and a victim-witness advocate, she said.
“It is not enough to come to work and do our job and keep the public safe,” Singh said. “We need to have them informed, we need to have them connected, and we need to have them have a voice in this office every day.”
Staff from the district attorney’s office participating in the program are doing it on a volunteer basis, and are taking on the community engagement role on top of the other work and day-to-day responsibilities they have, Boudin said.
“We’re committed to doing whatever it takes to strengthen our relationship with San Francisco and the communities that make up this great city,” Boudin said.