An Instagram video captured the moments before San Francisco police officers shot and killed a man in the Bayview on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015.

New police oath aimed at rebuilding public trust

Soon San Francisco police officers will have the option to take a second oath — in addition to the one they take to uphold the law when they become officers. The new oath pledges to report other officers when they do wrong, according to a police union email obtained by the San Francisco Examiner.

The “Not On My Watch” pledge will be a voluntary pledge taken by officers who will vow to report other officers when and if they are breaking the law or acting in a fashion beneath the dignity of their position, said Sgt. Yulanda Williams, who was part of the effort behind the pledge.

The pledge, according to an email sent by San Francisco Police Officers Association President Martin Halloran, is part of a continued public relations effort by the department and union to to build trust among the community.

“This campaign will continue to build trust with the community that we serve,” Halloran wrote. “We will be asking members to take a “Not On My Watch” pledge at lineups. This is a voluntary pledge and members must make their own decision as to taking the pledge or not taking the pledge.”

Halloran pointed out that there are no consequences for refusing to take the pledge, which he himself took. Halloran said the pledge will be part of a promotional video that the union plans to release soon.

The campaign comes at a time when police are under scrutiny for shooting to death a man in the Bayview on Wednesday night, which was caught on a cellphone.

In recent years the department has been beset by scandals that have damaged the image of the 2,000 officer department. Early this year a racist text message scandal broke, showing how a handful of officers sent bigoted texts to one another. That revelation was followed by the conviction of another group of officers who illegally searched single occupancy hotels and stole money and drugs from drug dealers.

This pledge campaign follows on the footsteps of at least two other spots on radio and television paid for by the POA to promote a positive view of police. One falsely claimed the department was the nation’s most diverse. The other claimed that
the department does not racially profile.

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