Appendix 3. Summary of Other Areas Reviewed: Consent Decree, Crime Lab, Special Operations

Consent Decree

In March of 1979, a settlement was reached between the City and County of San Francisco and several parties interested in changing the recruitment, selection, and promotional practices of the SFPD. This settlement, called the Consent Decree, established the long term goal of increasing substantially the minority and female composition of the Police Department so that it more nearly reflects the racial, ethnic and sexual composition of the labor force of the City and County of San Francisco. In order to meet specific recruitment, hiring, and promotion goals, the City was ordered to establish the "Consent Decree Unit" within the Police Department with responsibility for recruitment and examinations for sworn classifications in the Police Department.

Statistics provided by the Consent Decree Unit show that, as of October 1997, of the total of 1,999 sworn personnel in the SFPD, 748 police officers or 37 percent are minority officers compared to 226 officers or 14 percent in 1979, the year the Consent Decree was established. This represents an increase of in SFPD minority sworn personnel of 231 percent. Additionally, as of October 1997, 301 police officers or 15 percent are female officers compared to 67 officers or 4 percent in 1979, representing an increase of 349 percent. According to a 1993 survey by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, of 31 state and local law enforcement agencies with 1,000 or more sworn officers, the SFPD is among the top third in percentage of minority sworn personnel and ranked 18th in percentage of female sworn personnel.

As of the writing of this report, the City is negotiating with the other parties to the Consent Decree and plans to request that the Consent Decree be vacated after the administration of a final required promotional examination to be conducted by the SFPD. The promotional exam, for the Assistant Inspector classification, was originally scheduled for the first week of September 1997. However, prior to its administration, it was discovered that the exam had been leaked to candidates and the exam was cancelled. The incident is currently under investigation and a new Assistant Inspector"s exam is anticipated to be administered in two parts in April and May 1998.

According to the Consent Decree Unit, the estimated annual savings resulting from vacating the Consent Decree would be at least $275,000 annually, plus additional savings in professional services of an undetermined amount.

San Francisco Police Department Crime Laboratory

As part of the management and performance audit of the SFPD, the audit team reviewed and analyzed the status and operation of the San Francisco Police Department Crime Laboratory (SFPD/CL).

As part of this analysis, we examined: 1) the current organization and staffing of the crime lab; 2) the remaining actions required to complete relocation of the SFPD/CL to Building 606 in Hunter"s Point; and 3) the remaining steps required to qualify for and obtain accreditation from the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD).

In conducting this review and analysis the Budget Analyst:

• Interviewed the Director of the Forensics Division and the acting Crime Lab Manager;

• Reviewed prior reports on the staffing requirements for the Lab and relocation of the Crime Lab to Building 606 at Hunter"s Point;

• Reviewed a report prepared by Susan Johns and Douglas Lucas of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) outlining the impediments to accreditation of the Crime Lab by the ASCLD; and

• In addition, the FY 1997-98 budget request, prepared by the Crime Lab and submitted as part of the Police Department"s budget request, was also reviewed.

Based on our review and analysis, there are no findings with regard to the management and operation of the Crime Laboratory. However, due to the impending move from the Hall of Justice to the new facility in Hunter"s Point, and the recent efforts to obtain accreditation, this report includes an update on both issues.


The San Francisco Police Department Crime Laboratory is one of the six units which comprise the Forensic Services Division of the Department. The five other units include Crime Scene Investigations, the Photography Lab, the Identification Bureau, the Technical Services Unit and the Polygraph Unit. Organizationally, the Forensic Services Division, and by extension the Crime Laboratory, are part of the Investigations Bureau. As such, the management of the Forensic Services Division and Crime Laboratory reports directly to the Deputy Chief of Investigations.

The overall function of the Crime Laboratory is to provide evidence testing services for the Police Department and other City and County agencies and departments. The Crime Lab is divided into three units which include: DNA testing; Alcohol testing; and Narcotics testing. The types of evidence and materials analyzed include blood and other body fluids, firearms, narcotics and other controlled substances, trace evidence collected from crime scenes, documents and breath alcohol results. The staff of the Crime Lab totals 13 full-time equivalent (FTE) personnel and consists of:

• One Director of Forensics, who also oversees the other five units within the Forensics Division;

• Two Senior Criminalists (one of whom serves as the acting Crime Lab Manager);

• Eight Criminalists;

• One Senior Clerk Typist; and

• Two Light Duty Police Officers who perform ballistics testing.

On an annual basis, the SFPD/CL conducts approximately 11,000 tests on evidence which is booked into the lab for analysis.

Relocation to Building 606 and Accreditation of the Crime Laboratory

During the FY 1996-97 budget process, the Police Department proposed leasing and renovating Building 606 in order to relocate four units to this new facility. The four units identified included the Crime Laboratory, Property Control, Air Marine Helicopter Unit, and Special Operations. The Crime Laboratory and Property Control were included in the relocation plans to address deficiencies cited in a 1995 analysis of the Crime Laboratory"s status with regard to accreditation.

In its May 1995 review of the Crime Laboratory facility located in the Hall of Justice, the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB) noted deficiencies in the physical plant, design, security and health and safety. Such deficiencies included:

• Unsecured area for overnight and/or long term storage of evidence;

• Physical design/layout that restricts the efficient flow of evidence from the time of its acceptance until its proper disposal;

• Inadequate and inappropriate space available for records, reference works and other necessary documents;

• Fire detection systems which are not functional at all hours;

• Inappropriate space provided for safe storage of volatile, flammable, and explosive materials;

• Improper ventilation in the firing room of the current lab;

• Inadequate space available for Examiners for writing reports and other official communications;

• Improper and inadequate lighting for personnel to carry out assigned tasks;

• Inadequate work space, preventing/limiting employees from accomplishing assigned tasks; and

• Insufficient space for each instrument to facilitate its operation.

According to the Director of Forensics, Building 606 already has in place all of the features of a modern crime laboratory, including sufficient space to store and secure items taken into evidence and departmental supplies. The Director of Forensics advises that, by relocating to Building 606 at Hunter"s Point, the Department could address the deficiencies cited in the May 1995 report including the following:

• Plumbing and electrical infrastructure that is adequate for a certified crime laboratory;

• A ventilation system with vents that are ready to be connected to the chemical and biological safety hood, which are required when handling hazardous chemicals or evidence;

• An existing vault for securing and storing evidence;

• An area that is suitable for the test firing of weapons; and

• An area adequate in size for the examination of vehicles.

As of the writing of this report, the Department is in discussion with the Mayor"s Budget Office concerning funding needs in the approximate amount of $1.8 million in order to fund (a) renovations to Building 606 which are necessary before the Crime Lab can relocate to the new facility; and (b) additional staffing for the Crime Lab. Such funding is likely to be included in whole or in part in the SFPD"s Fiscal Year 1998-99 budget.

Special Operations Division

As part of Phase 2 of this performance audit, we also reviewed and analyzed the Special Operations Division. The Special Operations Division is responsible for providing specialized police services to the Police Department and to the general public. The Special Operations Division is part of the Field Operations Bureau and is overseen by the Commander of Special Operations, who directly reports to the Deputy Chief of Field Operations. The Special Operations Division is divided into four units, including the Crime Prevention Company, the Traffic Company the MUNI Transit Company and the Housing Task Force.

Overall, we found that, based on a survey of other large, urban police departments in California, that the SFPD"s Special Operations Division appears to operate and to be organized and staffed in a similar fashion as special operations units in other large California police departments. Findings and recommendations specifically regarding the deployment of Special Operations units for special events were included in Phase I of this management audit, and in Section 4 of this report.

The scope of our review included an examination of the operations, policies and procedures, organizational structure, and staffing of the Special Operations Division, in order to determine whether the Special Operations Division is fulfilling its objectives. To accomplish our objective, we:

• Conducted interviews with the Commander of the Special Operations Division and the commanding officers of the Crime Prevention Company, MUNI Transit Company, Traffic Company and Housing Task Force;

• Analyzed workload and performance records for each of the Special Operations units for the three-year period from FY 1994-95 through FY 1996-97;

• Obtained and reviewed personnel distribution reports and organizational data for each unit;

• Researched departmental policies and procedures regarding critical incidents, special event coverage and traffic enforcement;

• Reviewed survey responses from six other large California police departments regarding the staffing, organization and workload of special operations units within their jurisdictions; and

• Reviewed and compared statistics published by the U.S. Department of Justice regarding policies and practices for special operations units in San Francisco and other law enforcement agencies nationwide.

As noted above, the Special Operations Division is divided into the Crime Prevention Company, the Traffic Company, the MUNI Transit Company, which are commanded by a Captain, and the Housing Task Force, which is commanded by a Lieutenant. The commanding officers of each of these units report directly to the Commander of the Special Operations Division.

The Crime Prevention Company consists of the Canine Unit, the Bomb Squad, the Honda Unit, the Mounted Unit, the Air-Marine Unit and the Tactical (TAC) Squad and provides the following services:

• Directed uniform patrol and crime control;
• Specialized plainclothes patrol;
• Mounted horse patrol;
• Canine patrol;
• Explosive ordnance removal;
• Park and beach patrol (Honda Unit);
• Marine and air support;
• Special weapons and tactics (SWAT);
• Hostage negotiation tactics;
• Crowd control;
• Dignitary protection;
• Fugitive recovery; and
• Counter sniper inner perimeter containment.

The MUNI Transit Company is responsible for ensuring the safety of the riding public and employees of the Municipal Railway (MUNI). The MUNI Transit Company was reviewed as part of our performance audit of the Municipal Railway conducted in 1996 and was not included in the scope of this performance audit.

The Traffic Company is the traffic enforcement and investigation unit of the Police Department. The Traffic Company provides the following services:

• Investigation of fatal and injury traffic accidents;
• Commercial vehicle enforcement;
• Enforcement of traffic laws;
• School safety patrol/traffic safety education;
• Dignitary protection and funeral escorts;
• Traffic and crowd management for special events; and
• The San Francisco Traffic Offender Program (STOP), which enforces laws against driving with suspended or revoked driver"s licenses.

The Housing Task Force provides supplemental police services on Housing Authority properties. These services include foot and motorized patrol; undercover and checkpoint operations; and recreational and referral programs for Housing Authority youth and tenants. The Housing Task Force receives an annual payment of approximately $1.6 million from the Housing Authority in order to provide these services.

The number of assigned sworn and civilian personnel, by unit, is as follows (as of September 30, 1997):

Division Sworn Civilian Total
Crime Prevention Company 105 8 113
MUNI Transit Company 48 0 48
Traffic Company 75 0 75
Housing Task Force _20 __0 _20
Total 248 8 256

Some of the recent accomplishments of the units of the Special Operations Division include:

• The San Francisco Traffic Offender Program (STOP) received the Director"s Award for Excellence from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and was responsible for making 7,300 misdemeanor arrests of unlicensed drivers during FY 1996-97. The Police Department reports that STOP has contributed to the lowest level of fatal traffic accidents in 20 years.

• The Police Department established the Air-Marine Unit during FY 1996-97 as a result of the gift of two helicopters from the U.S. Department of Defense.

• The Crime Prevention Company relocated to Building 606 in Hunter"s Point, thereby providing a full-time police presence in the Hunter"s Point for the first time.

• The Housing Task Force implemented the Resource Center Program and Job Readiness workshops in major housing developments during FY 1996-97.

Based on our field work and analysis, there were no findings or recommendations regarding the Special Operations Division. In addition, when comparing San Francisco to other jurisdictions, the SFPD"s Special Operations Division appears to operate and to be organized and staffed in a similar fashion as special operations units in other large California police departments. Findings and recommendations specifically regarding the deployment of Special Operations units for special events were included in Phase I of this management audit, and in Section 4 of this report.