The CompStat meetings of the San Francisco Police Department are the best live theater in town, says San Francisco Chronicle columnist C. W. Nevius. The star of the show is Commander Jeff Godown, brought in from Los Angeles by new Police Chief George Gascón to run the statistics-driven program that tracks crimes by location so if a number of auto break-ins happen in a specific area, police efforts can be concentrated there.
Part game show host, part prosecuting attorney, Godown grilled the captains from five of the city’s 10 police districts yesterday. Fans of the HBO show “The Wire” would recognize the scene. The cop drama staged a weekly grilling of police captains based on actual CompStat meetings. Godown asked for trends, disputed numbers, and delivered more than one minilecture on breaking out of the status quo. As positive as this is, it only highlights what a dysfunctional mess the department has been, Nevius says.