Police Commendation / Complaint

How to Commend a SFPD Employee or Report Misconduct

The San Francisco Police Department is committed to ensuring that our officers and non-sworn staff provide unbiased, quality service to the diverse communities we work for. Our goal is to provide accountability and fair and positive interactions between San Francisco officers and the people we are proud to serve. Toward that goal, the Department and the City of San Francisco provide a number of ways to report exceptional service, biased behavior or misconduct by a SFPD employee. Community members may directly contact a Department Supervisor at any SFPD Police Station to file a commendation or complaint regardless of where in the City the incident occurred. If you wish to commend the actions of SFPD member, you may also email the captain of the station in your area or the Department’s Community Relations Unit (sfpdcommunityrelations@sfgov.org).

The Department’s General Orders include the procedures for investigating citizen complaints against officers and non-sworn members. Community members may file complaints directly with the Department of Police Accountability (DPA), the body charged with impartially investigating complaints against SFPD officers and making policy recommendations regarding police practices. The San Francisco Police Commission investigates complaints forwarded by the DPA and makes recommendations for discipline by the Chief of Police. The San Francisco Office of the Controller also administers a whistleblower program that investigates allegations against city government employees. In addition, as recommended by the San Francisco Youth Commission, the Police Department publishes multilingual “Know Your Rights” brochures, which are distributed to schools and youth organizations. The brochure provides a summary of the rights of youth in regard to detention, consensual contact, Miranda Rights, and rights for limited-English-speakers.

SFPD emphasizes training to help officers interact effectively with youth. Recruits participate in a variety of youth engagement programs. In calendar year 2015 alone, four Academy classes participated in more than two dozen different on-and-off duty youth engagement activities, including programs at Mo’ Magic, Bayview Hunters Point YMCA, Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area and holiday events citywide.

The San Francisco Police Department is working hard to root identify and root out explicit and implicit bias. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines bias as “a tendency to believe that some people, ideas, etc., are better than others that usually results in treating some people unfairly.” Department General Order 5.17 details SFPD’s policy prohibiting biased policing. All officers are responsible for knowing and complying with this policy. Any Department employee who becomes aware of biased policing or misconduct is required to report it in accordance with established procedure and the SFPD’s Not On My Watch pledge, which all members of the Department are required to take.

The Department has also developed implicit-bias training for the Basic Academy and as part of ongoing advanced professional training for current officers. While in the academy, recruits study topics that include policing in the community; Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) & discrimination/harassment; the City’s homeless community and the Civil Sidewalk Ordinance; transgender community; cultural competency; and hate crimes. Recruits and veteran officers also study racial profiling, interpersonal communications and Blue Courage.

The SFPD continues to implement the training required to institute a culture reflective of 21st Century Policing. In the fall of 2016, San Francisco Police Department Managers were trained on managing implicit bias through the Fair and Impartial Policing course and an eight-hour training course titled “Creating an Inclusive Environment: Introduction to Managing Implicit Bias” presented by the San Francisco Department of Human Resources.

The next component of the managerial training is an eight-hour Procedural Justice course created to prepare all managers to lead their line officers with a clear perspective on creating and maintaining police legitimacy. The purpose of this training is for officers to understand the principles of Procedural Justice and incorporate them into their professional work environment. These principles include giving people a voice, fair treatment, respect, and providing a trustworthy process. Procedural Justice centers on the belief that when officers engage in fair and respectful treatment, the public is more likely to view their authority as legitimate. We believe that this in turn builds better relationships with community members and promotes cooperation and support for an officer’s efforts to improve safety.

Officer Commendation procedures:

Complaints against Officers: