Policy Recommendation 06.19.03

Subject: Roll Call Training and Reissuance of Department Bulletin Concerning Service Animals and Written Protocol on Issuance and Reissuance of Department Bulletins

Recommendation: The Office of Citizen Complaints recommends that the San Francisco Police Department:

1.) Develop a written protocol that requires the Department to review all Department Bulletins sixty (60) days before their expiration to determine whether they should be reissued.  The written protocol would require the Department to consult with the OCC before deciding whether or not to reissue Department Bulletins and shall seek the input of the OCC when reissuing a Department Bulletin or issuing new Department Bulletins. The written protocol would require Department Bulletins to be reissued before their expiration date. 

2.) Reissue (and update if appropriate) SFPD Department Bulletin A 00-43 Use of Service Animals By Persons With Disabilities that expired on 3/23/02.

3.) Reissue (and up-date if appropriate) roll call training on Guide dogs and Service Animals.

4.) Establish a record keeping system for each roll call training that indicates the time, date, member attendance, topic and materials used for the training.  (E.g. informational hand-outs or a video presentation shall be preserved from each roll call training.) Such records shall be accessible to the OCC in the course of investigation.  The OCC shall be included in the distribution list that announces upcoming roll call trainings.  (Also see Fourth Quarter 2002 OCC Policy Recommendation concerning Policy and Training Recommendations Concerning SFPD Interactions with Transgender Individuals)

Case Background:

While responding to a loose dog complaint at a residential motel, an officer continued to question the complainant about her ownership of a service animal despite the complainant and the hotel manager confirming the dog’s service animal status. Although the complainant offered to provide documentation attesting to the dog’s service status, the officer continued to press the complainant to reveal the nature of her disability, stating that she did not “look disabled.” When the complainant revealed her disability (which qualifies as a disability under federal and state law), the officer claimed it was not a disability but a disease. 

In another case, officers responded to complainant’s call that he was being refused service at a restaurant because of his service dog.  The officers asked the complainant for proof that his dog was a service animal or medical proof that he needed a service animal, documentation that service animal owners are not required to carry by law.  When he asserted that his disability was confidential, the officers stated they could not help him and that it was a civil matter between himself and the restaurant owner. 

While attempting to obtain records of roll call trainings the officers received concerning guide dogs and service animals, the OCC discovered that the Department does not have a uniform system for documenting member attendance, time, date, topic and materials used for the roll call training.  Such documentation is necessary to enforce compliance and evaluate roll call training effectiveness.  

Additionally, the Department does not have any protocol written or otherwise for reviewing and reissuing Department Bulletins before their expiration.    In the latter aforementioned case, Department Bulletin A 00-43 entitled “Use of Service Animals By Persons With Disabilities” had expired on March 23, 2002.  This Department Bulletin contains vital information about responding to and documenting service animal calls and its reissuance before its expiration date would provide continuity of Department standards and practices. (Department Bulletins are issued by the Chief of Police and distributed Department-wide.  Department Bulletins may provide directives, general information, training information, special orders, event orders or deployments, and may supplement or amend Department General Orders.  Department Bulletins and their provisions expire two (2) years after their date of issuance.  (See generally Department General Order 3.01 II.) )

Investigated by: Jessica Cole and Helen Calderon
Prepared by: SAMARA MARION, Senior Attorney
Approved by: KEVIN ALLEN, Director
Date: June 19, 2003