SF POLICE EXPAND PROGRAM
TO IDENTIFY PROBLEM OFFICERS
By Adam Martin, Bay City News Service
February 2, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO(BCN) - The San Francisco Police Department
is broadening the scope of its early identification program to
intervene with counseling or other measures before individual
officers commit breaches of discipline.
Chief Heather Fong said in an interview Wednesday that the department
implemented the country's first early intervention program in
1997 when it began tracking complaints filed against individual
officers through the Office of Citizen Complaints (OCC).
That system, while revolutionary at the time, uses only the barometer
of OCC complaints to alert the department to officers with potential
discipline problems, Fong said. The department intervenes when
an officer receives three OCC complaints within a six-month period
or four within a year.
The revised system, according to Fong and Capt. Charles Keohane
of the department's legal division, will consider a variety of
new behavioral indicators in addition to the OCC complaints.
"What we want to do is prevent this behavior from becoming
a problem,'' Fong said.
Keohane said the department is "moving aggressively'' toward
implementation of the new identification system. The process takes
time, he said, because all components of the new system must be
acceptable to the San Francisco Police Officers Association, the
department's administration and the American Civil Liberties Union,
which is working with the department on developing the new system.
So far, the department has decided upon which new indicators
to use, and is now looking at how the program will fit into the
organization's structure, Keohane said. It is now working to determine
how to weight each indicator and how and in what manner to intervene
when an officer is identified as having a potential discipline
Keohane said the department is aiming at completing the new identification
system by the end of 2006. He will give a report on the progress
at an upcoming police commission meeting.
Representatives from the union and the ACLU were not immediately
available for comment.
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