Office of Citizen Complaints

Policy Recommendations

Reference: 262-97

SUBJECT: Need for amendment of SFPD Booking and Detention Manual (DM-12) to require issuance of Certificate of Release Form in PC 647(f) detention releases.

The OCC recommends that the San Francisco Police Department amend the Department's Booking and Detention Manual (DM-12) to require issuance of Certificates of Release by the Station Keeper to individuals detained solely for being under the influence of alcohol when they are released when sober.

The complainant in this case specifically noted that he was not issued any paperwork to explain or justify his prolonged detention at the Tenderloin Task force district station. Department General Order 5.03 requires that Certificates of Release be issued when an individual has been "moved a substantial distance or has been detained a significant length of time." Individuals who are held at district stations for being under the influence of alcohol are routinely moved substantial distances and held for up to four (4) hours before being evaluated and released by a Station Keeper. In addition, California Penal Code Section 849 permits a peace officer to release an individual arrested without a warrant where the individual has been arrested for intoxication only and where no further proceedings are desirable. The policy of the Department is "to hold for detoxification only those persons who appear solely under the influence of alcohol." (DM-12, p. 38) California Penal Code Section 851.6(b) states:

In any case in which a person is arrested and released and no accusatory pleading is filed charging him [sic] with an offense, the person shall be issued a certificate by the law enforcement agency which arrested him describing the action as a detention.

This issue has also been raised in other cases in which individuals were detained for detoxification purposes only but were not issued any documentation that they had been detained.

Case Investigated By: SERGEI LITVINOV, Investigator
Reviewed By: ROBERT S. JANISSE, Chief Investigator
Approved By: MARY C. DUNLAP, Director
Date: March 2, 1998

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