KCBS In Depth: Safety And Crime In San Francisco

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An SFPD cruiser. (AP)

An SFPD cruiser. (AP)

KCBS In Depth
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The San Francisco Police Department is still without a permanent police chief after former Chief George Gascón left for the job of San Francisco District Attorney in January.

Acting Police Chief Jeff Godown said he is more than ready to take over the position full time.

“The police commission submitted three names back in March. And now it’s going to be up to the mayor to make that decision,” Godown said. “I meet with the mayor once a week for an hour to talk about issues concerning the department and we have not had discussions in reference to who the new chief of police will be or when he is going to make a selection. So I continue to move forward with the department.”

Some in the department were upset that Godown was named interim chief, arguing that there were many other worthy candidates. But he said for the most part, he has received lots of support since coming to San Francisco from Los Angeles.

“The rank and file have been very supportive and the command staff has been very supportive,” said Godown. “In fact, I’ve felt more comfortable here in San Francisco than I did for almost the 30 years in the city of Los Angeles.”

An Interview With Acting SF Police Chief Jeff Godown:

One of the major issues within the department this year has been the surfacing of several videos that have forced the department to drop multiple cases as they investigate possible officer misconduct, something Godown said is becoming more prevalent in this digital age.

“Everybody has cell phones and iPhones and video capability and 30 years ago when I came on the department, no one had a cell phone,” he said. “I think all the officers understand that anything they do, anything they say can be videotaped or could end up on TV or YouTube. They shouldn’t do their job in fear of being videotaped. They should do it correctly.”

Godown said the much-maligned crime lab is once again up and running and hopes the department can expand the role of civilian officers to get more uniformed police back out in the field.

The sit-law law is also being enforced and while he feels they could be more aggressive in enforcing it, that would also take away from other areas if patrols were increased.

Overall, Godown said that while problems still exist with policing in San Francisco, for the most part, the department has had a successful year in 2011.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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