Press Release

The San Francisco Police Commission adopts DPA’s recommendations for historic changes to SFPD’s General Order 3.01

The San Francisco Police Commission adopts DPA’s recommendations for historic changes to SFPD’s General Order 3.01 which will allow greater community involvement and increased civilian oversight in SFPD’s policy development process.
February 11, 2022
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This is the dawn of a new era for policymaking at SFPD. The changes to General Order 3.01 are unprecedented and exemplify 21st Century Policing principles. We couldn’t be more excited to formalize our seat at the decision-making table so we can advocate for transparency, accountability, safety, and best practices. It has been a long road to get to this point and we appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with Chief Scott and the Police Commission on these important revisions. We look forward to hearing community input on General Orders that will be posted on the SFPD website during the 30-day public comment period and encourage everyone to participate
Executive Director Paul Henderson, Department of Police Accountability

For the past year, DPA has made recommendations to SFPD and the Police Commission to improve and expedite SFPD’s policy on creating written directives such as General Orders, Manuals, Department Notices, Bureau Orders, and Unit Orders. On February 9, 2022, the San Francisco Police Commission approved historic changes to General Order 3.01 to provide for greater community input and civilian oversight in SFPD’s policy-making process. Key changes to General Order 3.01 are below.

  • Early in the development process, General Orders will be placed on the SFPD website for a 30-day public comment period during which the community and SFPD personnel can submit recommendations to DPA and SFPD for inclusion in the policy.
  • DPA will have a seat at the table at “concurrence” which is the meeting with SFPD Command Staff during which they make the final decisions what is included, and not included, in a policy before it is submitted to the Police Commission. Previously, this meeting was held behind closed doors with no civilian oversight or collaboration.
  • DPA will be invited to participate in all SFPD community working groups and will be given the opportunity to provide input in selecting working group participants and developing protocols subject to final approval by the Police Commission.
  • The Department General Order development process will be more nimble, efficient, and streamlined, and there will be increased collaboration with SFPD to comply with recommendations made by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2016. 

The changes to General Order 3.01 are truly ground-breaking. In the past, SFPD has developed its policies largely in a vacuum with limited civilian oversight or community involvement. The working groups were sporadic, non-inclusive, and left community advocates and disenfranchised communities feeling frustrated and unheard. Policymaking was arduous, protracted, and important policy decisions were made by the SFPD Command Staff behind closed doors.

Executive Director Paul D. Henderson said, “This is the dawn of a new era for policymaking at SFPD. The changes to General Order 3.01 are unprecedented and exemplify 21st Century Policing principles. We couldn’t be more excited to formalize our seat at the decision-making table so we can advocate for transparency, accountability, safety, and best practices. It has been a long road to get to this point and we appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with Chief Scott and the Police Commission on these important revisions. We look forward to hearing community input on General Orders that will be posted on the SFPD website during the 30-day public comment period and encourage everyone to participate.”  

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

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