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KCBS In Depth: Fighting Crime In San Francisco

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A police cruiser drives through in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. (File Photo)

A police cruiser drives through in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. (File Photo)

KCBS In Depth
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The San Francisco Police Department is facing a tough period, with a new chief in place and a large budget gap to try to close.

But longtime officer and new San Francisco Police Department Chief Greg Suhr said he is ready for the task at hand.

“The biggest challenge is going to be closing the budget gap and being able to do so at a time when we have a lot of police officers leaving and don’t have a lot in the queue to be hired,” said Suhr. “To that end, I think there are efficiencies that we can put into place. Some of them are from day’s gone by and others we are going to be capitalizing on.”

KCBS Interviews San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr:

One of his first goals is to clean up the department, this after several videos have been released over the last few months by San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi showing alleged police misconduct.

“I have no patience for dishonest cops and I hope I have been loud and clear on the issue,” he said. “If a cop is dishonest or untruthful, the hardworking men and women in the police department would just as soon not have them among us. If those cases are proved, I will seek to terminate them from the police department.”

Suhr said that for the most part, the department is full of smart, positive officers who are good people, but a few bad apples have ruined the image for some in  San Francisco.

“I think that overall, we’re a very professional police department. We have really smart cops in the San Francisco Police Department,” he said. “This is not an easy town to be a police officer in. “

One of the ideas he is looking to implement is something he got from Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts, who has recently armed his cops with lapel cameras. Suhr said the plan would help protect officers from any misunderstandings.

“We give them bulletproof vests to protect them from lethal force, but when your character is under attack, it’s just as damaging,” Suhr said. “I think these cameras would go a long way to protect them.”

One of Suhr’s main goals and something he has been working on during his time with the department is placing an importance on kids in San Francisco.

“It all starts with the kids. If the kids are engaged and busy and productive, then they don’t fall into the peer group that is a gang,” said Suhr. “They have the availability of positive choices so that they don’t fall to the lower ones.”

So while Suhr knows the year is going to be a difficult one, he is prepared to put everything he has into the job.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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