Office of Citizen Complaints

Policy Recommendations

Reference: 738-97

SUBJECT: Training For Enforcement of Taxicab Regulations

The Office of Citizen Complaints recommends that the San Francisco Police Department institute written procedures and training protocols so that officers in general, and members of the Taxi Detail in particular, receive proper instruction on the enforcement of the Chief's Taxicab Regulations.

Department Bulletin 98-91, issued May 8, 1998, partly addresses the proper enforcement action for violations of the Chief's Taxicab Regulations. However, that Bulletin fails to address the training and stated practice of the Taxi Detail to cite taxi drivers for offenses that are not clearly delineated within the Chief's Regulations or the provisions of the Municipal Police Code. In addition, DB 98-91 fails to address the stated practice of members of the Taxi Detail to cite taxi drivers for Section 1077(a) of the Municipal Police Code. MPC Section 1077(a) does not delineate any citable offenses; it is solely an administrative provision that gives the Chief of Police the authority to promulgate regulations. As such, citations issued for violations of MPC Section 1077(a) are improper on their face.

In August 1997, a San Francisco police officer issued a citation to a taxi driver for "Failure to Obey 1077(a) MPC." The officer, a member of the Taxi Detail, stated that he cited the driver because the driver was willfully late to a scheduled taxi inspection.

The citation was improper, and dismissed as invalid by the court. MPC Section 1077(a) is an administrative provision that grants the Chief of Police to adopt rules in order to regulate the taxi industry. MPC Section 1077(a) does not delineate illegal behavior, nor does it contain any language to the effect of "failure to obey." The Chief's Regulations do not specify what enforcement action, if any, may be taken against a taxi driver who fails to arrive on time for a scheduled inspection.

The officer stated that he was trained to cite drivers under MPC Section 1077(a). Both his fellow officer, and the acting officer in charge of the Taxi Detail at the time of the incident, corroborated this statement.

Prepared by: JEAN FIELD, Attorney
Reviewed by: ROBERT JANISSE, Chief Investigator
Approved by: MARY C. DUNLAP, Director
Date: July 16, 1998

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