Policy Recommendation - 06.23.03

Subject: Review and Amend DGO 7.01 to Explicitly Outline Officers' Responsibilities to Juveniles


The Office of Citizen Complaints recommends that the Department:

1.) Review and rewrite the policy and procedures regarding juveniles (Department General Order 7.01) to ensure compliance with state and federal law and to explicitly state the responsibilities and documenting requirements of officers.

2.) Invite appropriate personnel from the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department, Youth Guidance Center, Legal Services for Children, Child Protective Services, Department of Justice and other expert institutions to provide a best practices review of police department’s policies and procedures regarding juveniles and to participate in the evaluation and rewriting of the Department’s policy and procedures regarding juveniles.

3.) Augment roll call and Police Academy training to conform to these policy changes.

Case Background:

The OCC has received numerous complaints concerning the treatment of juveniles and the failure of officers to follow proper juvenile procedures.  Additionally, General Order 7.01 is silent in a number of significant areas affecting children and juveniles. The following examples highlight aspects of Department General Order 7.01 that need to be revised but are not intended to be the only areas of suggested revision.

1.) DGO 7.01 states that officers should not bring juveniles to facilities containing a lockup for adults, including district stations but officers routinely bring juveniles to district stations.  This practice should be re-evaluated in light of the DGO and each district station facility should be evaluated as to its ability to comply with California Code of Regulations (see below). 

2.) DGO 7.01 does not address the Department’s responsibilities to children or minors who do not fall under Welfare and Institutions Code section 300 (Victim of Neglect), 601 (Runaway or Beyond Parental Control) or 602 (Violation of Criminal Law).  In one complaint, a 14-year old girl was brought to the district station despite her parent’s objection and then subjected to a derogatory comment by an officer at the station.  Her status was neither as a section 300, 601 or 602 minor and the DGO provided no guidance as to alternate places she could have been placed before a parent, legal guardian or responsible adult could have picked her up.

3.) DGO 7.01 (E) (2) (b)[1] which governs the procedures at district stations for the secure detention of juveniles who have committed §602 offenses and pose a serious security risk does not fully comply with California Code of Regulations, Title 15, Article 14.  

DGO 7.01 does not state what factors should be taken into account in deciding to hold a minor in secure detention. Nor does it state what actions officers should take after the 30-minute maximum handcuffing time has expired.  It does not require a watch commander to approve the securing of a minor to a stationary object for longer than 30 minutes and every 30 minutes thereafter. Nor does it require documentation of the reasons for the continued secure detention of the juvenile.[2] Additionally, it does not address any other option for securing a juvenile who poses a serious security risk.  This section needs to be rewritten to conform to California Code of Regulations, Title 15, Article 14. 

For example, California Code of Regulations, Title 15, Article 14, Section 1548 outlines the mandatory procedures and documentation requirements when a juvenile is handcuffed to a stationary object.  It specifically imposes certain requirements if a juvenile is secured to a stationary object for longer than 30 minutes—requirements that 7.01 does not address or impose.

Section 1548 states:

Minors held in secure detention outside of a locked enclosure shall not be secured to a stationary object for more than thirty (30) minutes unless no other locked enclosure is available.  A staff person from the facility shall be present at all times to assure the minor's safety while secured to a stationary object. Securing minors to a stationary object for longer than 30 minutes, and every 30 minutes thereafter, shall be approved by the watch commander and the reasons for continued secure detention shall be documented.  Minors who are secured to a stationary object shall be moved to a locked enclosure at such time as it becomes available.

Department Bulletin 01-38 addressed officers’ responsibilities to monitor juveniles at the district stations and to fill out secure and non-secure juvenile detention logs at the stations.  (Attached to the Department Bulletin are the Secure Detention of Juveniles Log and Non-Secure Detention of Juveniles Log.)  It stated that officers had to obtain the officer-in-charge’s approval before placing a juvenile in secure detention and for detentions that exceeded thirty minutes.  It did not inform officers that they needed approval for every thirty minutes thereafter, nor did it require documentation of the reasons for the continued secure detention.  Contrary to §1548 which instructs that minors secured to a stationary object shall be moved to a locked enclosure at such time as it becomes available, Department Bulletin 01-38 stated that “Department policy prohibits placing juveniles in locked rooms or cells.[3]”  This department bulletin expired on February 14, 2003.

Both the Department Bulletin and the Juvenile Log forms are unclear as to which officer is responsible for the continuous monitoring of the juvenile and the thorough completion of the Juvenile Log forms.

Complaints involving secured detention issues include a 17-year-old juvenile arrestee who was placed in a room at the district station and handcuffed to a stationary object for 70 minutes until he was transported to the Youth Guidance Center.  The Secured Detention Log indicates that an officer observed the juvenile at two thirty-minute intervals.  In a second case, complainant, a 14-year-old juvenile arrestee was placed in a room at the district station and handcuffed to a stationary object for 44 minutes until he was released to his parent.  The Secured Detention of Juveniles Log indicates than an officer observed the juvenile twenty minutes after he was placed in the room and twenty-four minutes after the first observation.  He was intermittently released from the handcuffs while receiving medical treatment from paramedics called to the station.

In a third case, complainant, a 15-year-old juvenile arrestee was placed in a room at the district station. handcuffed to a stationary object for 45 minutes,  released from the handcuff to make a phone call and then handcuffed again to a stationary object.

In a fourth case, a female juvenile and a female adult were handcuffed together on a bench in the district station.  This station lacks proper and sufficient holding facilities for both females and juveniles and must be corrected.

In a fifth case, a juvenile was handcuffed to a bench for about an hour.

4.) General Order 7.01 does not address the rights of juveniles and the responsibilities of officers when juveniles are detained but not brought to the district station.  The General Order is silent as to any notification to the parents or legal guardian, does not address the manner in which a juvenile may be released from police detention and does not include any documentation requirement.

Complaints involving detentions of juveniles include a case in which officers were responding to a car vandalism report involving 18 and 19 year old black females.  Officers detained a 13 and 15-year-old black female juveniles who were carrying groceries in close proximity to a market.  They were pat searched by male officers, placed in the patrol car and transported several blocks for a cold show in which they were exonerated.  Instead of driving the two juveniles to their home, an officer released them several houses away from where they resided.  Officers never notified the juveniles’ parents during the detention or after they were released; no incident report documenting the detention and cold show was written.

In a second case, officers detained a juvenile on suspicion of inhaling an intoxicant.  They knew he was a known gang member and he was wearing gang colors at the time of the detention.  Stating they were transporting him to the police station, they stopped and released him in rival gang territory where he was immediately stabbed.

5.) General Order 7.01, section II (2) states that when taken into custody juveniles should be read the Miranda advisement as required by Welfare and Institutions Code §625.  However, the general order does not state whose responsibility it is to provide the advisement, when it should be given nor does it include any documentation requirement. 

Because the Secure and Non-Secure Detention of Juvenile Log Forms already document police contact with each juvenile brought to the district stations, this form provides a logical place to record when and who provided each juvenile the Miranda advisement.

Complainant, a juvenile, was taken into temporary custody at a district station.  The complainant alleged that he was not read his Miranda rights.  In their OCC interviews, eight officers who had contact with the complainant, including the arresting officer, stated that they did not inform the complainant of his Miranda rights.  All of these officers stated that they did not know whose responsibility it was to Mirandize the juvenile. 

6.) Although DGO 7.01 requires the arresting officer to notify a juvenile’s parent, guardian or responsible relative if a juvenile is taken to the district station or other law enforcement facility, it does not state when such notification must be provided. Officers are required to include in their incident reports whether notifications were made or whether other actions were taken to notify parents or guardians.  It does not require that identifying information about the parents or guardians be documented in the incident report or elsewhere.

In two cases, juveniles were released to either a relative or a friend’s parent without sufficient information in the incident report to identify who that individual was and how to contact that individual.  Because the Department is responsible for releasing to a parent, guardian or responsible adult, such information is vital.

Investigated by: Cheri Toney, Pat Dalton, David Aulet, Mary Ivas, Erick Baltazar, Mark Scafidi, Karol Heppe
Prepared by: SAMARA MARION, Senior Attorney
Approved by: DONNA MEDLEY, Acting Director
Date: June 23, 2003


[1] General Order 7.01 (b) provides:  SECURE DETENTION. Juveniles age 14 and over who are serious security risks or pose a risk of harm to themselves or others, may be held in secure detention. The following policies shall apply:

1.) The juvenile must be informed of the purpose, expected detention time and of the 
2.) The juvenile may be cuffed to a stationary object for a maximum of 30 minutes. 
3.) There must be adequate supervision to assure restricted contact with adult prisoners.
4.) Entry must be made in a log, indicating the offense, reasons and circumstances for the secure detention, starting and ending times of detention, and the officer's name.

[2] While General Order 7.01 (b) (4) requires entry in a log indicating “the offense, reasons and circumstances for the secure detention, starting and ending times of detention, and the officer’s name,”  it does not include the reason for the continued secure detention and the authorization of a watch commander as mandated under §1548, California Code of Regulations.

[3] This prohibition is correct as to certain types of juveniles.  Juveniles cannot be held in a locked room and/or handcuffed to any fixed object if  1)  the juvenile is brought to a district station for a Welfare and Institution Code §§300 or 601 offense (e.g. truancy, child neglect) or  2) the juvenile is under age 14 (regardless of the offense) or  3) the juvenile is age 14 or over and is not a serious security risk or does not pose a risk of harm to him or herself or others. (See General Order 7.01 (E)(1) & (2)).