Chief's Message




Chief of Police - Alex Fagan

Chief of Police
Alex Fagan

Chief's Message

A company that monitors public safety recently ranked San Francisco as one of the safest cities in the nation, placing it as number eight out of the fifteen safest cities with a population of 500,000 or more. And in a 2001 San Francisco citizen survey, more than three-quarters of the respondents felt safe or very safe.

Our success is due to a number of factors. One factor is innovation. We were one of the first departments to create a Police Academy and a mounted unit, and one of the first to use a fingerprint computer to help solve crimes and to integrate DNA Technology as a crime fighter tool. Reflecting the city's underlying idealism, the San Francisco Police Department established Hate Crimes, Domestic Violence and Environmental Crime units, among the first in the nation to be established.

Another factor of our success is community policing, which stresses officer interaction with the citizens they serve, establishing an atmosphere of mutual trust. That interaction is facilitated by foot and bicycle beats supplementing patrol car activity so that officers get to know people on a first-name basis, through many youth-oriented programs, and through monthly community meetings at each of our ten district stations.

Community policing is enhanced by the Department's policy of establishing positive relationships with the communities it serves. We recruit on college campuses throughout the Bay Area and counsel young people on a possible career in law enforcement to give ordinary citizens an idea of what law enforcement is really like. We established the Citizen's Academy, in which citizens from many walks of life take courses in law, defense tactics, search and seizure policy and preliminary investigations, all taught by regular Academy instructors. Part of the course involves a ride-along with officers in a patrol car, giving a special, utterly realistic look into what a cop's work is really like.

The San Francisco Police Department celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1999. From a police force of only a handful of officers to a present-day force of almost 2,300, the men and women of the Department are of many races reflecting the multi-varied communities they serve. Our diversity gives us the best of the best. And at the beginning of the twenty-first century, our mission remains the same: To ensure that the weak are protected, that civility triumphs over chaos, and that the rights and liberties of a democratic society are preserved.