SF police union files grievance over use of force policy

The San Francisco Police Department’s reformed use of force policy could be in limbo — again.

The San Francisco Police Officers Association has filed a grievance with The City over the stalled use of force policy negotiations, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

That could could mean The City and the union go to arbitration or court, according to Susan Gard, the Department of Human Resources’ chief of policy.

In either event, the policy will be further stalled from fully being implemented since it was passed nearly six months ago.

The new policy, which was passed in June by the Police Commission, is meant to reduce the number of fatal police incidents after a series of high profile police shootings, including the December 2015 killing of Mario Woods.

The main sticking point has been rules barring officers from shooting at cars, which the union opposes.

The union declared an impasse in the meet and confer process Oct. 21

Then, on Oct. 27, the union filed a grievance with The City, arguing The City acted in bad faith and demanding an expedited arbitration over the issue.

That means the next step could be either a lawsuit or binding arbitration, which would leave the final call in the hands of an outside arbitrator, according to Gard.

“Management can always do the right thing here and go back to the negotiating table with the union,” said Nate Ballard on behalf of the union.

Meanwhile, the department and the commission say they remain committed to reform, despite the stalled use of force process.

“The San Francisco Police Department is unwavering in our commitment to real collaborative reform,” Acting Chief Toney Chaplin said in a statement Tuesday. “We will continue to implement the recommendations for reform which will be built on the most current policing policies and practices, fostering an environment of trust and strong relationships with our communities.”

Meanwhile, the Police Commission and top brass are set to go before the Board of Supervisors Tuesday night to inform them of the status of the department’s reform package following the October release of a federal review of its practices.

The federal Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services’ review of the department recommended the department should immediately bar its officers from shooting at vehicles.

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