San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, faced with strong opposition to his call for a blue-ribbon panel to change the police department’s culture, told The San Francisco Chronicle he has abandoned that plan and instead will ask national experts to recommend reforms. Newsom has assigned Allen Nance, director of the Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice, to consult experts across the country and to give him a preliminary report by fall on organizational and operational changes needed to reform the department. A Chronicle series described how the department had failed to control the conduct of about 100 officers who repeatedly resorted to force far more often than their fellow officers.
Nance, who had been the chief of adult probation for DuPage County, Il., west of Chicago, has met with representatives of the Washington, D.C.-based Community Police Consortium. The consortium will help prepare a list of reforms to present to the mayor. Newsom stressed that he wanted Chief Heather Fong, the Police Officers Association, and the city’s Police Commission involved in the process of proposing reforms. Racial balance and tolerance will be a major focus of the reforms Newsom is looking for. The videos that prompted plans for a blue-ribbon commission included mocking representations of African Americans. The Chronicle series also dealt with race, pointing out that typically more than 40 percent of those upon whom force was used were blacks, though they make up only 7.8 per cent of the city population.