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Press Release

Department of Justice Launches Comprehensive Review of the San Francisco Police Department

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Department of Justice today announced the launch of an independent and comprehensive review of the San Francisco Police Department.  This review will be conducted by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) through its Collaborative Reform Initiative.

The review is in response to requests made by city officials and community members asking that the Justice Department conduct an in-depth look into the use of force policies and practices of the San Francisco Police Department. 

“The Department of Justice is dedicated to upholding the highest standards of law enforcement throughout the United States, and this Collaborative Reform Initiative is a vital component of that effort,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.  “In the days and months ahead, we will examine the San Francisco Police Department’s current operational policies, training practices and accountability systems, and help identify key areas for improvement going forward.  I am confident that together we can make certain that our officers have the tools and training they need to do their jobs, and that every member of the San Francisco community has the protection and service they deserve.”

Director Ronald Davis of the COPS Office, the Justice Department agency responsible for collaborative review, and Acting U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch of the Northern District of California, were joined by San Francisco city and law enforcement leaders to announce the launch of the collaborative reform process.

“As part of the collaborative reform process, the Justice Department will conduct a thorough, independent and objective assessment of the San Francisco Police Department’s policies, practices and accountability systems,” said Director Davis.  “The findings will allow the police department to implement best practices in law enforcement and empower the community to hold the department to those standards.”

“San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and San Francisco Police Department Chief Greg Suhr have jointly requested this collaborative review and have publicly committed to providing the resources necessary for its successful completion,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stretch.  “The Department of Justice will engage the police department, the Mayor's office, and the communities they serve in a constructive assessment.  We are also committed to monitoring and assisting with the implementation of any reforms recommended by the COPS Office.” 

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The Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance is an independent and objective way to transform a law enforcement agency through an analysis of policies, practices, training, tactics and accountability methods around key issues facing law enforcement today.  The initiative is designed to provide technical assistance to agencies facing significant law enforcement-related issues.  Using subject matter experts, interviews and direct observations, as well as conducting extensive research and analysis, the COPS Office assists law enforcement agencies in enhancing and improving their policies and procedures, operating systems and professional culture.

Following the assessment, the Justice Department will issue a public report detailing the findings of the assessment, along with specific recommendations for improvement.  The COPS Office will assess progress made in implementing those recommendations over an 18-month period following the initial assessment.  Two progress reports will be released tracking implementation of those recommendations.

The COPS Office is currently providing collaborative reform in Spokane, Washington; Philadelphia; St. Louis County, Missouri; Salinas, California; Fayetteville, North Carolina; Calexico, California; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has completed the process in Las Vegas.

The COPS Office, headed by Director Ronald Davis, is a federal agency responsible for advancing community policing nationwide.  Since 1995, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of more than 127,000 officers and provide a variety of knowledge resource products including publications, training and technical assistance.  For additional information about the COPS Office, please visit  

Updated February 1, 2016

Press Release Number: 16-122