In an effort to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, the San Francisco Police Department on Wednesday unveiled posters that will be displayed at every police station throughout the city, reaffirming the department’s commitment to end systematic racism.
The 27-by-54-inch poster explains why the department’s principle of “safety and respect for all” aligns with the movement, in an effort to remind police officers of those values.
Since protests have swept the nation starting back in May after the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police, city leaders have moved toward creating policies to show the city’s commitment to Black Lives Matter. In that spirit, last month San Francisco Police Commission Vice President Damali Taylor and Commissioner Dion-Jay Brookter authored a resolution requiring Black Lives Matter posters to be placed inside each city police station.
According to Police Chief Bill Scott, creating the posters was a collaborative process throughout the department that resulted in thoughtful discussions about police values.
“This was a really, really rewarding experience for me and to get everybody’s input across the department. For the Police Commission to take leadership on this issue, particularly in today’s times and in terms of what our nation is facing now with these issues, it was really important,” Scott said.
He added, “We have a set of values in the posters that you can see today that we can all be proud of, because it reflects the values of the Police Department, including the Police Commission. And it reflects the values of our city.”
According to Brookter, the idea of Black Lives Matter posters inside police stations came from the city’s Black residents.
“First and foremost, this resolution came from the Black community,” he said. “They said, ‘We would like to see Black Lives Matter posters at every one of our police stations here in San Francisco.’ As we look at the sanctity of life, as we look at, as the chief noted, what’s going on in the nation, the Black community felt that we wanted to see that symbol.”
He added, “As we continue to push forward with (police) reforms, this does not exclude the reforms and all the work that needs to be done. This is merely a symbol, as we know symbols really matter, saying to our Black community here in San Francisco that we value you and we value your life.”
Taylor said, “There are a lot of people who feel afraid when they see the police, when they think of the police. And that symbol, which may seem so small to some, is meaningful to know that if I walking into a district station that my life is important too and I am not a throwaway. My humanity is not a throwaway to SFPD. I just think it’s so powerful and it is a small gesture, but it’s an important gesture and it’s an important part of the path forward to reform and to healing.”