Proposals to improve police put on table

Not only should police officers who walk foot patrols and interact with residents be rewarded for their work, but their district captains should also be able to remain at stations instead of being rotated to different assignments every two to three years, a wide-ranging community policing report unveiled Wednesday night said.

In order to manage the 10 district stations, the report suggested, along with other recommendations, to improve police-community relations, adding a 14th command staff position to the Police Department responsible for community policing.

The Mayor’s Office formed the 27-member community policing advisory committee in mid-2007 that included a representative appointed by each supervisor. For the last eight months, law enforcement experts and community members have been drafting 30 recommendations.

The committee suggested that sergeants pay more attention to officers’ sloppy grooming and ensure they’re wearing their “service hats.” Other suggestions included more community meetings, better communication with ethnic media and working with youth on anti-“don’t snitch” campaigns.

Police are not required to implement the recommendations mentioned in the report, but police Chief Heather Fong said she was receptive to many of the ideas and that an “implementation team” will be formed to report back to the Police Commission in 90 days.

The report was unveiled two weeks after an audit of The City’s foot patrol program, mandated by a Board of Supervisors resolution, found that a majority of San Franciscans contacted in that study felt safer because of more officers walking a beat.

The audit, performed by an independent law enforcement consultant, also found that there were breakdowns in the chain of command. The department was also criticized for its “antiquated technology,” which made it difficult to gauge if foot patrols actually prevented crime.

In a joint release on the Police Department’s Web site, Mayor Gavin Newsom and Fong expressed “reservations” about the data used in the analysis. The response, however, was pulled after a few days.

bbegin@examiner.com

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