News (USA)

San Francisco police recite pledge to root out intolerance

The police chief hopes every officer will recite the voluntary pledge every January to help instill a culture of tolerance and accountability. Police cadets read the pledge Jan. 15 at their graduation.

“I really think it’s important that the public hear us say the words,” Suhr said.

The pledge is one of several changes Suhr made in the department since the racist text messages emerged from a police corruption case. Suhr has been trying to fire eight officers implicated in the scandal, but a judge recently ruled that he waited too long to discipline them after discovering the texts two years ago. Suhr is appealing.

Suhr reintroduced a proposal to equip officers with stun guns to help deal with confrontations like the Woods shooting and has announced a number of other “use-of-force” policy changes.

Officers must now report whenever they point their guns at suspects. Firearms training has been changed to emphasize other “less-than-lethal” options. And the department is developing ways to deal with knife-wielding suspects.

The pledge is not asking officers to “snitch” on one another, Suhr said. Rather, he said, it is intended to reinforce that the police department reflects the tolerant and diverse culture of San Francisco.

“It’s what we swore to do,” Suhr said. “People that would use racial epithets, slurs and things like that clearly fall below the minimum standard of being a police officer. A cop needs to show character and point that out.”

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