Press Release

San Francisco Police Commission adopts domestic violence policy

The San Francisco Police Commission adopts the Department of Police Accountability’s and community working group’s recommendations for SFPD’s updated domestic violence policy and new domestic violence and stalking manual for patrol officers.
February 18, 2022
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I couldn’t be happier to announce that SFPD will soon be implementing the new domestic violence policy and manual for patrol officers. From 2016 to 2020, City agencies and community organizations collaborated to create these cutting-edge policies. It is
truly ground-breaking work that will significantly improve the City and SFPD’s response to domestic violence incidents. I have no doubt that this new manual for first responders will save countless lives
.
Executive Director Paul Henderson, Department of Police Accountability

On February 17, 2022, the San Francisco Police Commission formally adopted revisions to the San Francisco Police Department’s (SFPD) policy on investigating domestic violence incidents (Department General Order 6.09), and a new Domestic Violence and Stalking Manual for SFPD patrol officers. The prior policy dated back to October 8, 2014.

Department of Police Accountability (DPA) collaborated with the Language Access Working Group, the Department on Status of Women, the District Attorney’s Office, the San Francisco Police Department’s (SFPD) Special Victims Unit, and other community-based organizations such as the Domestic Violence Consortium to make recommendations that ensure that the revised policy and the new manual are comprehensive and align with best practices.

DPA’s recommendations, made in collaboration with community working groups, ensured that the manual, which did not previously exist at SFPD, addresses the critical role that officers play as first responders to domestic violence and stalking calls for service, including: 

  • Preservation of evidence while on-scene.
  • Identifying the dominant aggressor to prevent victims from being wrongly arrested.
  • Providing language access for Limited English Proficiency and Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals.
  • Interviewing and obtaining emergency protective orders for children.
  • Guidance on interacting with transgender, gender-variant, and non-binary individuals.

Also, the manual requires that patrol officers perform an on-scene lethality assessment of the level of danger and/or the severity of the situation, as some types of domestic violence are risk indicators for a homicide.

DPA Executive Director, Paul D. Henderson said, “I couldn’t be happier to announce that SFPD will soon be implementing the new domestic violence policy and manual for patrol officers. From 2016 to 2020, City agencies and community organizations collaborated to create these cutting-edge policies. It is truly ground-breaking work that will significantly improve the City and SFPD’s response to domestic violence incidents. I have no doubt that this new manual for first responders will save countless lives.”  

For more information contact DPA Policy Director, Janelle Caywood, at (415) 241-7762 or janelle.caywood@sfgov.org

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