Why Should I Care About Policing Practices?

Right now, the San Francisco Police Department has hundreds of reform initiatives. You deserve clear explanations of what these reforms will do. How are they prioritized? Who is responsible? Why are we making these changes? How will this impact my life? What about my neighbor’s life? How do we know if a reform is working? What if some people benefit, but other people suffer? Now is a powerful time to get involved. Your questions and comments on policing practices will change what happens.


Download our Police in San Francisco FAQ Flyer.

Our goal is for all San Franciscans to understand and shape policing practices. 


Have you seen the California Police Scorecard?

Learn the facts about police violence and accountability. Each department is evaluated on the number of deadly force incidents, citizen complaints of police misconduct and arrests made. A grade from A - F is assigned. 

View the Police Scorecard for San Francisco.


What Can I Do to Improve Policing Practices?

1. Become an Observer

Make sure all San Franciscans know about meetings, decisions, policies, programs and their impact. There  are a wide variety of meetings dealing with policing practices: Sunshine  Ordinance Task Force, Police Oversight Commissions, neighborhood Police District and Supervisor Community Meetings, and more. Read past Observer reports. We will train you  to:

  • request information
  • share information (reports, social media, newsletters, events, etc.)
  • invite others to learn about policing practices

We’re happy to train you and have you then go off on your own. The most important thing for us is to get you involved. But if you agree to adhere to a few League standards, you may become an official League observer!

We use five handouts in our trainings. We’ve made them available below so that anyone who wants to use them can download them. 

  1. FAQ for the San Francisco Police
  2. Observer Job Description
  3. Observer Training Agenda
  4. Observer Checklist
  5. Observer Report


 2.   Know Your San Francisco District Attorney (DA)


On November 5, 2019 San Franciscans will elect a new District Attorney. What is a DA and why is this government official important? Here is a quote from our current DA, George Gascon:

I recognized many years ago that district attorneys really control the criminal justice system at the end of the day. Because we hold the power of determining who’s going to be prosecuted and how they’re going to be prosecuted, which is really the gateway to incarceration. So while district attorneys may not control policing at the ground level, through policy decisions and posture they control much of what else goes into the system overall. (Read the full interview with SF DA George Gascon June 8, 2018).
The ACLU has great videos, infographics, explanations, and suggestions about knowing your DA.
San Francisco's November 5, 2019 election will be the first time in more than a century without an incumbent sitting district attorney in the race. Four candidates are running. On September 9, 2019, we co-sponsored a candidate forum that allowed audience members to ask the candidates questions about their visions for criminal justice in the 21st century in San Francisco.

View the September 9, 2019 District Attorney Candidate Forum Video


3. Learn about policing practices with us

We’re putting together resources and events about policing practices in San Francisco. We will be sharing more information here. To stay informed, we recommend you:

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