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ELECTION BRIEFS: SF Prop G - Police accountability

"Day 36/366.....I Voted," by Flickr user Denise Cross Photography. Used under CC BY 2.0. Cropped and overlaid with text.

Prop G is about police accountability in San Francisco. Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a report that said the San Francisco Police Department is biased against African-Americans and that officers lacked accountability.

That isn’t much of a surprise to community members and activists who’ve been demanding police reform. But what people might not know is that San Francisco already has an agency in charge of investigating the public’s complaints against officers. It’s called the Office of Citizen Complaints.

Prop G would give the agency more independence from the police department. Right now, the Office of Citizen Complaints and the police department share the same budget. Prop G would rename the agency as the Department of Police Accountability. Unlike the Office of Citizen Complaints, this department would get its own budget, and be required to review the police department’s discipline protocol every two years.

Prop G is the work of San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen. Earlier this year, she wrote a measure that required the Office of Citizen Complaints to investigate all officer-involved shootings. Voters overwhelmingly passed that. Cohen wants to build on that momentum by creating a police watchdog with more teeth to hold officers accountable. Prop G is backed by San Francisco’s entire board of supervisors.

The police union hasn’t taken taken sides on the measure, but some activists are opposed because they don’t think it solves the department’s systematic problems. Otherwise, Prop G has no organized opposition.

So if you want a police oversight agency with more authority, vote "yes" on Prop G. If you don’t want San Francisco’s oversight agency to change, vote "no."

Citizen respondents to KALW's elections call-out contributed to this post. Our call-outs are part of our community reporting project.