San Francisco’s police will suspend the department’s much-criticized collaboration with FBI counterterrorism efforts, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The announcement that was celebrated by civil liberties and immigration advocates who have long called for stricter oversight of local participation in federal enforcement. The move comes as San Francisco disengaged from the president’s directives on immigration and the treatment of Muslims. The Joint Terrorism Task Force, which has two full-time city officers assigned to it, was established in 2007, when the police entered into an agreement with the FBI that authorized intelligence-gathering by San Francisco officers of people engaged in First Amendment activities such as religious services, protests and political assemblies.
Advocates wrote to the Police Commission last month, raising concerns that the department would follow federal law over local ordinances such as San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy, which limits city employees’ cooperation with federal immigration agents. Under the Trump administration, they said it is more important than ever that San Francisco officers commit to enforcing San Francisco policies. Police officials said they suspended participation in the Joint Terrorism Task Force because the memo of understanding on it was reaching its 10th year. Under the City Charter, all contracts over 10 years must be approved by the Board of Supervisors. Officials said they were planning to work with the Police Commission to update guidelines on investigating First Amendment activities.