S.F. Police Set “Serial Inebriate” Plan to Get Chronic Alcoholics Off the Street


San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr is preparing to kick off a dramatic program to get chronic alcoholics off the city streets, says the San Francisco Chronicle. The plan, based on San Diego's Serial Inebriate Program (SIP), has police arrest offenders who have multiple incidents in a given period (San Diego uses five drunk in public citations in 30 days). Once that threshold is reached, police cite the offender with a misdemeanor “drunk in public.” The suspect can be taken to county jail, charged, and offered a choice. He can opt for a jury trial — meaning he has to wait in custody until a trial can be scheduled, which could run to 30 days — or he could accept treatment in a housed facility. San Diego has been running the program since 2000 and claimed excellent results — decreases in arrests and increases in treatment success. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon warns that “this is only part of the puzzle.” He worries about tying up his staff, incomplete police reports, and legal challenges.

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