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December 5, 2012

COSW Meeting Information - December 5, 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
5:00 PM
City Hall, Legislative Chamber, Room 250
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

COSW Commissioners DOSW Staff Present
President Julie Soo Executive Director Emily M. Murase, PhD
Vice President Nancy Kirshner- Media & Community Affairs Director Aimee Allison
Rodriguez Outreach and Development Manager Stacey Hoang
Commissioner Alicia Gamez Policy Director Ann Lehman
Commissioner Kay Gulbengay Grants Administrator Carol Sacco
Commissioner Becca Prowda Commission Secretary Cynthia Vasquez
Commissioner Andrea Shorter Department Fellow Nancy Rock

Police Commissioners SFPD Staff Present
President Thomas Mazzucco Chief of Police Greg Suhr
Vice President Dr. Joe Marshall
Commissioners L. Julius M. Turman
Commissioner Angela Chan
Commissioner Carol Kingsley
Commissioner Suzy Loftus

President Soo (COSW) and President Mazzucco (Police Commission) welcomed everyone. Commissioners introduced themselves. Meeting called to order at 5:13 pm.

Action: To approve the meeting agenda.
m/s/c (Gulbengay/Kirshner-Rodriguez/Unanimous)

All matters listed hereunder constitute a Consent Agenda and are considered routine. They will be acted upon by a single roll call vote of the Commissions. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless a member of the Commissions so requests, in which event the matter shall be removed from the Consent Agenda and considered as a separate item. Members of the public may speak on each item listed on the Consent Agenda.

A. To support the reauthorization of the federal Violence Against Women Act.
B. To recognize the 10 Year Anniversary of the Justice & Courage Project on Domestic Violence Policy Reform.

Action: To approve the Consent Agenda.
m/s/c (Kirshner-Rodriguez/Loftus/Unanimous)

On the occasion of the 10 year anniversary of the Justice & Courage Project on Domestic Violence Policy Reform, Commissioner Shorter introduced members of the Justice & Courage Oversight Panel, past and present. Recognized in person were Beverly Upton, JaMel Perkins, Kathy Black, and Marily Mondejar. Commissioner Shorter also acknowledged the work of former Panel Chairs Susan Leal, Fiona Ma, and Dorka Keehn.

Dr. Murase provided background on the Justice & Courage Oversight Project that was launched in the year 2002, following the brutal murder of Claire Joyce Tempongko by her ex-boyfriend in front of her children in the year 2000. The investigation conducted at the request of the Commission revealed fundamental gaps in San Francisco's response to domestic violence. These gaps gave rise to hundreds of recommendations, by department, for domestic violence policy reforms. The members of the Justice & Courage Oversight Panel dedicated themselves to eliminate domestic violence. Dr. Murase was very pleased to announce that, compared to 10 years ago when there were about 10 domestic violence homicides annually, there were no homicides in this calendar year so far.

Commissioner Loftus thanked the Justice and Courage Oversight Panel members, past and present, for their leadership and for making changes to help San Francisco families stay safe. The Oversight Panel made over 400 recommendations that have directly changed the response to family violence, including 3 new police codes to identify child abuse, domestic violence, and elder abuse. She acknowledged that change takes time and, in the past 10 years many, changes have been made.

Dr. Marshall highlighted the Kansas City tragedy and expressed his sadness over the violence that continues to affect families. Dr. Marshall announced the December 15 gun buy-back event that will take place in San Francisco and Oakland.

President Mazzucco was very gratified to see how much progress has been made in the past 10 years in the criminal justice system’s response to domestic violence.


• 2011 Comprehensive Report on Family Violence in San Francisco
The Family Violence Council (FVC) Tri-Chairs Beverly Upton, Executive Director, Domestic Violence Consortium, Kathy Baxter, Executive Director, Child Abuse Prevention Council, and Talitha Guinn, Director of Elder Abuse Prevention, Institute on Aging, presented key finding and recommendations of the 2011 Report. Ms. Upton expressed her thanks to both Commissions working and meeting collaboratively. The Tri-Chairs presented a statistical overview of child abuse, domestic violence, and elder abuse. Ms. Baxter explained that child abuse, domestic violence, and elder abuse are all family violence and the Council is a collaboration of all vested parties discussing the different needs and issues. The FVC is the first in the state that covers all 3 areas of violence across the lifespan.

Commissioner Loftus remarked on the importance of collaboration in addressing violence.

Commissioner Gamez stated that, like Ms. Guinn, she would like to see advances in addressing elder abuse in the future.

Commissioner Gulbengay thanked the Police Department and Police Chief Suhr, in particular, for his leadership on establishing a Special Victims Unit and bringing together inspectors specially trained to address family violence.

Commissioner Chan requested recommendations related to the Police Department.

• Domestic Violence Prosecution Rates
Cristine Soto DeBerry of the District Attorney's Office reported on the challenges facing the domestic violence prosecutors. Compared to Santa Clara County, the San Francisco office has far fewer attorneys, victim advocates, and support staff. In addition, the San Francisco Public Defender previously assigned 2 misdemeanor attorneys to specialize in domestic violence but has now assigned domestic violence cases across 12 attorneys. Meanwhile, the District Attorney currently only has 3 attorneys dedicated to domestic violence cases.

President Mazzucco asked Ms. DeBerry to explain the unique demands of prosecutors who work on domestic violence cases. She stated that working with domestic violence requires very "high touch" interactions with victims to establish trust and confidence in the criminal justice system. Assistant District Attorney Jean Roland who oversees the Domestic Violence Unit further elaborated on the need for sufficient resources to counter victim recanting and minimizing that frequently occur.

Commissioner Gamez asked about victim resources at the District Attorney's Office. Ms. DeBerry responded that victims can access social services even if they do not pursue prosecution and regardless of immigration status.

Commissioner Loftus thanked the District Attorney's Office for coming before the Commissions. She recognized Assistant District Attorney Jean Roland and Liz Aguilar-Tarchi. Commissioner Loftus also commended District Attorney George Gascon and Board of Supervisor President David Chiu for putting resources into services that will keep families safe.

President Mazzucco asked about additional challenges in prosecuting domestic violence cases. Ms. Roland stated that, due to the 2004 Supreme Court "Crawford" decision, 911 tapes, taped statements, and officer statements have been largely disallowed in court. Domestic violence victims are forced to appear in the courtroom in-person for cross-examination.

• Update on JUSTIS and the Domestic Violence Query & Reporting Module
Deputy City Administrator Linda Yeung reviewed a PowerPoint presentation on the JUSTIS system, a data hub for criminal justice case management systems. After presenting overview information, she reviewed 4 sample reports from the Domestic Violence Query and Reporting Module commissioned by the Department on the Status of Women as part of the Justice & Courage Project.

1. DV Cases - Arrested and /or Booked
2. DV Cases - Arrested/Booked by Zip Code
3. DV Cases - Sentenced vs. Dismissed
4. DV Cases - Convicted: Felony vs. Misdemeanor.

Commissioner Shorter thanked the JUSTIS team for the extraordinary progress demonstrated by the presentation. She stated that she is very excited to share, discuss, and publicize this landmark achievement by the JUSTIS Project.

Commissioner Kingsley asked whether the data collection effort was long-term and sustainable. Ms. Yeung explained that, yes, it was both long-term and sustainable. The JUSTIS Project will replace the current CABLE/CMS mainframe system used by the Police Department.

Commissioner Chan asked whether JUSTIS would be connected to federal databases and who will analyze the data. Rob Castiglia, JUSTIS Project Manager, explained that it will replace the CABLE/CMS system and to connect all criminal justice agencies in the City. Mr. Castiglia explained that each department controls the data and will grant other departments’ access to the data.

• Report from the SFPD Working Group on Language Access
Samara Marion of the Office of Citizen Complaints provided an overview of the working group's activities. In 2006, representatives from 22 organizations came together to develop an SFPD language access policy. Within 2 years, Department General Order 5.20 was adopted by the Police Commission and considered a national model for language access.

In the SFPD, there are over 150 bilingual police officers, one of the highest in the nation. The Police Department, in partnership with 22 organizations, produced a brochure on how to file a police report for the general public that is available in 5 languages.

The SFPD issued a Department Bulletin, followed by roll call training, on Limited English Proficiency (LEP) victims and dominant aggressor scenarios. A multilingual card explains to Limited English Proficiency individuals the process for reporting crimes and that services will be provided in their respective languages.

Language certification is available through the Department of Human Resources in Spanish, Chinese, and Russian. The Police Department received 1800 calls requiring language services (1060 for Spanish, 400 in Mandarin, and 340 in other languages including Russian). The police dispatch system is currently being updated to identify bilingual officers to be dispatched to the scene of a crime.

Deputy Chief Michael Biel explained that the SFPD recently reissued the language certification exam and 14 officers along with 4 Police Service Aids were certified. The Department is also working with the Police Academy, developing roll call trainings, and will be updating the cadet training to expand language access.

President Soo asked how the Police Department is expending the $500,000 line item for language access. Officer Chang reported that $250,000 is for premium pay for bilingual officers and $32,000 pays for Language Line. President Soo urged a cross disciplinary approach to training and cited the Department on the Status of Women “Bridges to Freedom Language Fluency Program” as an example.

Commissioner Loftus thanked the SFPD for its leadership and expressed how important it is to outreach the various communities to build trust with the first responders. Deputy Chief Biel explained that when citizens come in and speak another language, cards have been made to hand to victims letting them know that the SFPD is there to help and someone that can help them in their native language will be with them shortly.

Commissioner Chan suggested having signs in the neighborhoods in the diverse languages to let people know that services are provided in the various languages.

Commissioner Gamez expressed her concerns with “Secure Communities” and the reporting of the immigration status of residents who report crime to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Police Chief Suhr very clearly asserted that San Francisco is a Sanctuary City, meaning that the police are there to help no matter the language, country of origin, or immigration status of victims.

Arthi Chakravarthy with Asian Pacific Islander Legal Services explained that many of clients that they serve are Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and do not attend community meetings or events. Although much progress has been made by the SFPD, she still often hears that interpretation services are not offered to clients. Ms. Chakravarthy suggested having the Language Line personnel receive domestic violence and cultural competency training. Another suggestion is to have SFPD provide emergency protection orders to the victim in her/his native languages.

Beverly Upton with the Domestic Violence Consortium explained that the domestic violence community is in support of Assemblymember Tom Ammiano’s TRUST Act, legislation that would limit law enforcements obligation to implement Secure Communities, a controversial federal program that has resulted in many deportations for minor infractions and created considerable fear in the immigrant community.

• SFPD Special Victims Unit (SVU)
Police Chief Suhr provided an overview of anti-trafficking, child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse, and sex crimes enforcement activities. Chief Suhr explained that the SFPD has been facing a staffing crisis and, thanks to Mayor Lee’s leadership, they are in the process of hiring new officers. Furthermore, the SFPD is in the process of working on an SFPD officer-involved domestic violence policy.

Captain Denise Flaherty explained that the units making up the SVU strengthens the Department as it allows the expansion of knowledge-sharing.

Vice President Kirshner-Rodriguez expressed that seeing the SVU and leveraging people’s expertise is most successful when collaborations happen. San Francisco has always been known as an innovative city. She urged both Commissions to continue to look for regional partnerships.

Commissioner Marshall stated that he would like to hear more on prevention programs and best practices for prevention programs. Commissioner Marshall offered to work with the Commissions on prevention programs.

President Soo announced her hope that the San Francisco Unified School District will be integrating dating violence, dating models, and economic empowerment into the middle and high school curriculums.

President Mazzucco thanked everyone for the valuable information and important information that was shared. The goal of the SFPD, District Attorney, Commission on the Status of Women, and the Office of Citizens Complaint is to help crime victims. Domestic violence and family violence are a community matter. President Soo expressed how honored she was to preside over a meeting with common goals of making San Francisco a safe city for families and all residents.


Action: Adjourn the meeting in memory of Kay G. Gulbengay, Inspector Mike Nevins, Officer Colin Caser, Officer Phillip Weish, and Officer Thomas Westbrook. Meeting was adjourned at 8:33 pm.
m/s/c (Chan/Loftus/Unanimous)

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