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December Book of the Month

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Collaborative Reform Initiative: An Assessment of the San Francisco Police Department

(The COPS Report)

By Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Department of Justice

In response to community concern about recent SFPD officer-involved shootings, Mayor Ed Lee and former Police Chief Greg Suhr asked the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Policing to assess the SFPD’s policies and practices. The Collaborative Reform Initiative is now available in print in the Law Library and also online. In the study, the Department of Justice (DOJ) analyzed SFPD incidents and made 94 findings and 272 recommendations.

The DOJ found that the SFPD had a “lack of accountability” and used antiquated “use of force” policies. In the report, the DOJ concluded that there were “numerous indicators of implicit and institutionalized bias against minority groups.”

Disturbingly, between 2000 and 2015, the report found that there were 95 officer-involved shootings, 40 of which were fatal, but no charges were filed against officers for any of the shootings.

The report noted that there were six fatal police shootings in 2015—double the year before and the highest count in 15 years—and of the eight people fatally shot by SFPD officers since last January, four were Latino, two were black, and two were white. More than 60 percent of fatal police shootings since 2010 involved suspects with a history of mental illness. About 160 officers, or roughly 7 percent of the 2,200-strong force, were involved in the shootings. Six officers were involved in more than one.

The report includes an executive summary and detailed analyses, findings, and recommendations. For more information about police conduct and liability, the Law Library’s collection includes Police Misconduct: Law and Litigation and Police Civil Liability.

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