A Message from the Office of the Chief of Police regarding the Proposed Foot Patrol Legislation
From The Office of the
Chief Of Police
Since assuming the role of the chief of the San Francisco Police Department in the summer of 2009, my primary goal has been to make San Francisco the safest large city in America . In order to accomplish this goal, I have evaluated the organizational structure of the SFPD and restructured the organization to improve efficiency, effectiveness and accountability.
My key barometer of effectiveness is COMPSTAT , an organizational management tool that uses crime data to help officers identify problems and devise strategies to reduce crime and improve the quality of life of residents. Each commanding officer’s ability to meet established objectives is measured through this process.
As chief, it is my responsibility to deploy resources under my command to meet the community policing vision of this department. As a city department head, I am accountable to the community through the elected head of the city government’s executive branch (the mayor), and through a civilian commission appointed jointly by the chief executive (the mayor) and the elected legislative body (the Board of Supervisors). Ultimately, my success or failure is subject to review by these governmental entities that constitutionally represent the community.
This system allows for a balance between the executive and legislative branches of government. When one branch oversteps its role, the balance is tilted and the effectiveness of government is impaired. Many Americans, both in San Francisco and across the country, would point to this imbalance as an example of government failing to properly understand the constitutional roles afforded each branch.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has proposed two pieces of legislation that would directly impact my ability as chief to provide effective and efficient public safety. One of these pieces, which would establish a community-based foot-beat patrol program, directs subordinates under my command to establish staffing levels absent my direction or control. The second, which seeks to require the police department to itemize the cost of dignitary protection, would jeopardize the safety of public officials who receive valid threats against themselves or their loved ones. These legislative proposals directly circumvent my ability to lead this department effectively. This ultimately makes the goal of making San Francisco the safest large city in America more difficult to achieve.
I would ask San Franciscans to thoughtfully reflect on the ramifications of these proposed pieces of legislation. As I hope I have communicated, my concern is that such mandates will negatively impact the ability of the SFPD to meet critical public safety goals — goals that have been made that much more daunting during these challenging economic times.
Chief of Police
San Francisco Police Department
* To Download or View A Message From Chief George Gascón to the Board of Supervisors Regarding this issue, Click Here