The San Francisco Police Department
, also known as the SFPD
, is the police department of the City and County of San Francisco, California
. The department's motto is the same as that of the city and county: Oro en paz, fierro en guerra
Spanish for Gold in peace, iron in war
The SFPD should not be confused with the San Francisco Sheriff's Department
, which is another law enforcement agency within San Francisco.
The SFPD began operations on August 13, 1849, during the Gold Rush, under the command of Captain Malachi Fallon. At the time, Chief Fallon had a force of one deputy captain, three sergeants and thirty officers.
In 1851, Albert Bernard de Russailh wrote about the nascent San Francisco police force:
As for the police, I have only one thing to say. The police force is largely made up of ex-bandits, and naturally the members are interested above all in saving their old friends from punishment. Policemen here are quite as much to be feared as the robbers; if they know you have money, they will be the first to knock you on the head. You pay them well to watch over your house, and they set it on fire. In short, I think that all the people concerned with justice or the police are in league with the criminals. The city is in a hopeless chaos, and many years must pass before order can be established. In a country where so many races are mingled, a severe and inflexible justice is desirable, which would govern with an iron hand.
On October 28, 1853, the Board of Aldermen passed Ordinance No. 466, which provided for the reorganization of the police department.
Sections one and two provided as follows: "The People of the City of San Francisco do ordain as follows:"
Sec. 1. The Police Department of the City of San Francisco, shall be composed of a day and night police, consisting of 56 men (including a Captain and assistant Captain), each to be recommended by at least ten tax-paying citizens.
Sec. 2. There shall be one Captain and one assistant Captain of Police, who shall be elected in joint convention of the Board of Aldermen and assistant Aldermen. The remainder of the force, viz., 54 men, shall be appointed as follows: By the Mayor, 2; by the City Marshal, 2; by the City
Recorder, 2; and by the Aldermen and assistant Aldermen,3 each.
In July, 1856, the "Consolidation Act" went into effect. This act abolished the office of City Marshal and created in
its stead the office of Chief of Police.
In 1997, the San Francisco Airport Police merged with SFPD, becoming the SFPD Airport Bureau.
The SFPD currently has over 2000 sworn officers.
The head of the SFPD is the Chief of Police. The current Chief is Heather Fong
, who works with six deputy chiefs directing the four bureaus: Administration, Airport, Field Operations, and Investigations, as well as the Municipal Transportation Authority, and the Public Utilities Commission. With the exception of the bureau of Investigations, three commanders are assigned to each bureau to assist the deputy chiefs.
The Administration Bureau is responsible for providing support to other bureaus of SFPD, as well as other city agencies. The bureau is split into seven units or divisions:
- Behavioral Science Unit comprises the Employee Assistance program, the Peer Support Program, the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT), the Stress Unit, Catastrophic Illness Program, and the Chaplain’s program. Its function is to provide support to members of SFPD who struggle with personal issues.
- Fiscal Division consists of the Accounting Section, the Grant Unit, the Fleet Unit, and Property Control. Its function is to oversee the entire SFPD budget and to respond to audits from federal or state agencies.
- Planning Division provides functional support to the Department. It performs functions such as facilities maintenance, equipment repair, written directives, informational system management, and informational technology and telecommunication support.
- Risk Management consists of the Legal Section, Management Control Section, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Section. Its function is to provide oversight and review of policies, procedure development, and compliance.
- Staff Services Division is responsible for processing personnel files, performing background checks of employees, human resources, and hiring and promotion.
- Support Services Division consists of the Taxi Detail, the Permit Unit, and the Report Management Section. Its functions include regulation of commercial vehicles, issuance of permits, and data storage.
- Training and Education Division is responsible for training new recruits and current officers.
The Airport Bureau is responsible for the security and safety of San Francisco International Airport
. Besides providing basic police services, this bureau also oversees the airport's Transportation Security Administration
(TSA) security plans and plays a critical role in the airport's emergency response capabilities.
Field Operations Bureau
The Field Operations Bureau (FOB) is responsible for the reduction of crime around the city. The bureau is split into several different units:
- The Patrol Unit is split between two divisions: Metro and Golden Gate, both of which provide patrol around the city. Both divisions have five stations supported by FOB staff members. Besides patrol, this unit also assists the district station event coordinators with large scale city events, and provides security at those events.
- The Fugitive Recovery Enforcement Team (FRET) is responsible for apprehending fugitives. It works closely with federal and state agencies in tracking down criminals at large.
- The Homeland Security Unit—which previously operated as a separate bureau, and is now incorporated into the FOB—responds to the need for heightened security in the United States. It works closely with other agencies to enhance the overall security of the city.
- The Traffic Company is responsible for traffic law enforcement throughout the city. Its function includes the investigation of accidents and handling of traffic at special events.
- The Youth Services Unit is a program established to provide youths with an alternative to gang life.
The Investigations Bureau is split into five divisions:
- The Forensic Services Division consists of Computer Forensics Unit, Criminalistics Laboratory, Crime Scene Investigation, ID/Records Section, Photographic Unit, and Polygraph Unit. Its main function is to recover and process evidence.
- The Property Crimes Division consists of Auto Detail, Burglary, Fencing, Lost and Found, Financial Elder Abuse, Fraud, Hit and Run, and Neighborhood Investigation. Its main function is to investigate crimes such as auto theft, burglary, hit and run, DUI, fraud, and arson. The division is also responsible for recovering stolen property and investigating animal attacks.
- The Personal Crimes Division consists of General Works, Homicide, Sexual Assault, Robbery, and Special Investigation Section. Its main function is to investigate serious crimes such as homicide, rape, and robbery, track down illegal firearms, and handle extradition of criminals. The Special Investigation Section is a special division that is responsible for investigating bomb threats, hate crimes, gang violence, and providing security detail to the Mayor.
- The Juvenile and Family Services Division's main function is to investigate domestic violence, Internet crimes, and missing persons cases.
- The Narcotic/Vice Division's main function is to investigate trafficking of narcotics and other illicit vices around the city.
The SFPD currently has 10 police stations throughout the city.
- 1) Central Station: 766 Vallejo St. San Francisco, CA 94133 (415) 315-2400
- 2) Mission Station: 630 Valencia St. San Francisco, CA 94110 (415) 558-5400
- 3) Northern Station: 1125 Fillmore St. San Francisco, CA 94115 (415) 614-3400
- 4) Southern Station: 850 Bryant St San Francisco, CA 94103(415) 553-1373
- 5) Tenderloin Station: 301 Eddy St. San Francisco, CA 94102(415) 345-7300
Golden Gate Division:
- 6) Bayview Station: 201 Williams St. San Francisco, CA 94124 (415) 671-2300
- 7) Ingleside Station: 1 Sgt. John V. Young Ln. San Francisco, CA 94112-2408 (415) 404-4000
- 8) Park Station: 1899 Waller Street San Francisco, CA 94117 (415) 242-3000
- 9) Richmond Station: 461 6th Ave San Francisco, CA 94118 (415) 666-8000
- 10) Taraval Station: 2345 24th Ave. San Francisco, CA 94116 (415) 759-3100
Line of duty deaths
From June 12
to December 23
, the SFPD has lost 100 officers in the line of duty.
The cause of death break-down is as follows:
- Aircraft accident: 3
- Assault: 1
- Automobile accident: 6
- Bomb: 1
- Drowned: 1
- Earthquake(1906): 1
- Fall: 1
- Gunfire: 59
- Gunfire (Accidental): 2
- Heart attack: 3
- Motorcycle accident: 6
- Stabbed: 2
- Struck by streetcar: 2
- Struck by vehicle: 4
- Vehicle pursuit: 5
- Vehicular assault: 2
- Weather/Natural disaster: 1
- Male: 85%
- Female: 15%
- White: 60%
- Hispanic: 13%
- Asian: 13%
- African-American/Black: 10%
- Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 4%
- Native American:1%
The diversity of the department has increased significantly since 1972, when only 150 of the department's 2000 officers were of a non-white background.
SFPD chiefs of police
|| Term |
|| 1849-1850 |
|| 1851-? |
|John W. McKenzie
|| ?-1856 |
|James F. Curtis
|| 1856-1858 |
|Martin J. Burke
|| 1858-1866 |
|| 1866-1873 |
|Theodore G. Cockrill
|| 1873-1875 |
|Henry H. Ellis
|| 1875-1877 |
|| 1877-1879 |
|| 1879-1897 |
|Isaiah W. Lees
|| 1897-1900 |
|William P. Sullivan
|| 1900-1901 |
|| 1901-1905 |
|Jeremiah F. Dinan
|| 1905-1907 |
|William J. Biggy
|| 1907-1908 |
|Jesse B. Cook
|| 1908-1910 |
|John B. Martin
|| 1910 |
|| 1910-1911 |
|David A. White
|| 1911-1920 |
|Daniel J. O'Brien
|| 1920-1928 ||
The SFPD in popular media
The SFPD has been portrayed in films such as Metro (1997 film)
, A View to a Kill
and the Dirty Harry (film series)
, as well as the CBS
series Nash Bridges