By Marisa Lagos
The San Francisco Police Commission has adopted a zero tolerance domestic violence policy for prospective employees, unanimously approving a general order stating that no one convicted of a domestic violence offense will be considered for hiring.
The commission also laid out strict procedures for when a member of the San Francisco Police Department is accused of domestic violence and tightened its rules for investigating all domestic violence incidents. For example, the changes require the department’s internal affairs division to investigate all alleged domestic violence crimes involving department personnel and for thae investigations to be immediately reported up the command chain to the chief of police. The changes also make clear that a suspect or victim’s immigration status is irrelevant an violence investigation, and require police to provide victims who do not speak English with translation services.
Police Commission President Suzy Loftus, a former San Francisco prosecutor, said the policies were developed over two years with input from the department, the police officer’s union and the Office of Citizen Complaints. The update to the department’s existing policy, as well as the creation of the new order laying out procedures for incidents involving SFPD employees, grew out of conversations between Police Chief Greg Suhr and domestic violence advocates, Loftus said, after the 2012 domestic violence conviction against Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.
She said only about 25 percent of U.S. police departments have “standalone officer-involved domestic violence policies” and that they usually are crafted after a tragedy involving a police officer has already occurred.