2017 Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee Priorities

January 19, 2017

In response to your memorandum the following is a list of issues that the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods (PS&LN) Committee should consider this coming year:

Implementation of Police Department Five Year Plan and Increasing Civilian Staffing Levels: The City must continue to implement the Police Department’s Five Year Plan. To support our sworn officers, it is critical that the City have adequate staffing of civilian positions. The elimination of these positions over the years has resulted in slower police non-emergency response times, additional overtime costs, decreased revenues from permit and fee collections, case backlogs and other impacts. The restoration of civilian staff will allow existing sworn officers to return to patrol duties. The Committee should review staffing levels of civilian positions, including 911 and non-emergency dispatch positions that have received much attention, in the Police Department and recommend a strategy to continue to ramp up staffing levels.

Community Oriented Policing: Recent conflicts between law enforcement agencies and civilians across the nation have brought new focus on the need to improve police officers’ interaction with the public they serve. In San Diego, Community Oriented Policing efforts have proven to be effective. The Committee should explore ways to expand Community Oriented Policing in order to continue to build the trust and relationship between our residents and police officers.

Police Recruitment and Retention: Since the beginning of FY 2016, 239 police officers have left the San Diego Police Department (that is about 13% of SDPD’s current strength). The City must prioritize the recruitment and retention of police officers in the next year and beyond. Recent actions taken by the City to curb attrition and increase recruitment have been largely ineffective. The Committee should discuss how the San Diego Police Department’s salary and benefits compare with other law enforcement agencies and recommend an effective strategy to prevent continued high attrition numbers in coming years.

Citygate Implementation Plan Monitoring: Continuing to build the fire station facilities as identified in the Citygate report is critical to ensuring communities throughout San Diego have adequate fire and life safety services. The Committee should review updates from the Fire-Rescue Department on the Citygate plan implementation and make recommendations regarding continued fire station prioritization efforts for the next 5 years. In particular, the Committee should explore how to get the highest propriety stations built as soon as possible.

Policies and Procedures regarding Electronic Surveillance Equipment: The San Diego Police Department utilizes electronic surveillance equipment, known as a Stingray, that collects data on criminals, but also collects data of phones carried by members of the public not involved in non-criminal activity. There are significant privacy issues to consider in the use of this type of surveillance equipment. The Committee should review the City’s usage and privacy policy on this matter and recommend any revisions to the City Council that would allow greater transparency in how the equipment is used and how private citizens are protected from inappropriate monitoring by the Police Department.

Authority in Release of Information in Future Police Officer Involved Incidents: Last year’s, U.S. District Court ruling regarding the release of surveillance video of a police officer related incident showed that there is a lack of clarity in the City’s procedures in release of such information. In order to provide the greatest level of openness and transparency as possible to the public, it is critical that the City develop clear cut guidelines for the release of video and other information for future incidents. The Committee should consider revising the appropriate codes and policies that govern the release of video and other information related to police related incidents for Council consideration in 2017.

Thirty Party Contractor to Conduct San Diego Police Officers’ Exit Interviews: During the FY 2017 budget, a motion was made to request the Mayor’s office return with a plan and cost estimate for a 3rd party contractor to conduct exit interviews in the Police Department. I have yet to be informed of any progress on this direction provided by the City Council. Given the continued issues with the retention of our police officers, this Committee should request for an update to be provided on the status of this request.

Review SDPD Performance Measures: Last year, during approval of the FY 2017 Budget, the Council directed staff to include performance measures for the Police Department as outlined on page 3 of the May 27, 2016, Joint Budget Memorandum by Councilmember Cole, Councilmember Alvarez and Council President Pro Tem Emerald. This Committee should review the implementation of those performance measures to ensure that SDPD is meeting its goals.

Implementation of AB 953 (Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015): On October 3, 2015, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill (AB) 953, known as the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015. The Act includes requirements regarding a number of significant law enforcement issues, including: the collection of data regarding citizen complaints alleging racial and identity profiling, collection of data regarding law enforcement stops and detentions, and the creation of the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board. The regulations are expected to be finalized in the next months. During the November 30, 2016, PS&LN Committee meeting, a motion was made requesting the Mayor and the San Diego Police Department to implement AB 953 once the regulations were completed (ahead of the 2018 schedule required under the law) and to bring information about what it would cost to do so, so that the money could be included in this year’s budget. I would advise for this Committee to request an update on the progress that has been made to ensure the timely implementation of AB 953.

Nationwide Search for New San Diego Police Chief for the San Diego Police Department: Chief Zimmerman is enrolled in the Deferred Retirement Option Plan
(DROP) and it is anticipated that she will retire in March 2018. It is important for the search for a new Police Chief to begin soon and we must ensure that it is an open and transparent process. The public input component should include townhalls/workshops in each district to allow the public to weigh in on what qualities are important in our next chief, as well as have a committee of community members involved in weighing in on the hiring decision. For example, in Seattle, community input was collected through community workshops that were held throughout the City as well as through the use of an online forum. Furthermore, community members were appointed to two committees related to the search for a new chief, the Community Advisory Committee and the Search Committee. The Search Committee was in charge of screening the applicants and presenting a list of finalists for consideration. While the Community Advisory Committee, composed of diverse community members, provided their feedback on the new chief. This Committee should assist in ensuring that there is an open process and that public input is taken into consideration when selecting the new police chief.

David Alvarez with District 80 residents


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