Police Reform and Accountability
At a District 1 Supervisor candidate forum a week prior to the unjust and tragic death of George Floyd, candidates were asked whether they would increase hiring for the SF Police Department.
Connie Chan was the only candidate to answer “no”. Why? Our police department has increased its budget by 58% in the last decade to over $600 million with no clear results.
Given Connie’s 15 years of public service, including her time at the District Attorney's Office, she knows that too many of our communities continue to feel disconnected and underserved from police officers, who are supposed to protect us and keep us safe on our streets, at our work and homes. And this often leads us to believe that increased policing is the solution. But the reality is, historically our Chinese American community in San Francisco were often ignored by police, and their pleas for safety still go unheard. Our Black and Latino communities already know too well that racial bias among local law enforcement agencies threatens their lives and civil rights.
This is the moment we must push to transform our law enforcement system and dismantle racism.
In the face of a $1.7 billion budget deficit, Connie understands we must prioritize resources to equitably serve working people, small businesses, and vulnerable communities. To support our city’s recovery from this pandemic, we need to invest in our public health care system, public schools, and key economic and job development opportunities. These strategies are also an important part of creating public safety for our communities.
We must make sure our police force focuses on their duties to equally protect and keep the public safe from violent crimes. We can create law enforcement capable of delivering justice for everyone. Here’s how:
Restructuring Police Officers’ Roles
First, Connie supports fundamentally restructuring our police officers’ role in our community so that they will no longer be involved in homeless sweeps, mental health and wellness calls, or behavioral discipline of our students. Instead we need to have health care professionals and social workers provide the services that meet these needs.
End Law Enforcement Non-Emergency Response
Second, she supports Mayor London Breed’s proposal of ending the use of police force as a response to non-criminal activity, and redirecting funding to supporting impacted communities. Connie also supports ending the use of military-grade equipment — there’s no need for such tools here in the Richmond District or anywhere in San Francisco. These proposals are among 272 recommended by the U.S. Department of Justice since 2016, of which only 60 have been implemented. No more delays. We must implement reform measures now.
Reform State Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training
Third, Connie is calling upon the Governor and our State Legislature to reform the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) that will mandate implicit bias training and stop the hiring, retention and promotion of police officers who fail the testing and training for implicit bias and the restriction of the use of force.
Support National Reform
Finally, we must support Democratic leaders like U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, to ensure Congress takes action on critical police reform issues. This includes banning chokeholds, creating a national misconduct registry, ending the use of no-knock warrants in drug cases and making lynching a federal crime — all with the goal of dismantling racism among our law enforcement agencies.
We must be vigilant, and continue to build on the momentum of this moment to make the changes we all deserve in the interest of public safety. Our communities can no longer wait for police reform — we have to keep fighting until public safety and justice are delivered.