SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco police commissioners on Friday joined city supervisors Matt Haney and Shamann Walton to show support for the supervisors’ measure for the 2020 November ballot, which seeks to increase police foot patrols throughout the city.

Haney first introduced the charter amendment during Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting, creating a neighborhood safety unit within each police district, focused on community engagement and deploying officers on foot while encouraging them to interact with community members.

The measure would also require the police commission to hold at least one public hearing annually to consider policies or strategies regarding community policing and foot patrols.

“Fundamentally, this is about keeping residents and communities safe,” Haney said during a news conference Friday.

“Residents tell us again and again that what they want are police officers who they know; who they can easily access; work with them and who know them,” he said.

San Francisco Police Foot Patrol

A San Francisco police officer on foot patrol outside a Pacific Gas and Electric building. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

According to Haney, current police foot patrols in the city’s downtown areas are inconsistent and inadequate.

“We don’t have any laws on the books right now that require foot patrols,” Walton said. “One of the things we’ve know from other studies about what happens with foot patrol officers, not only do they build long term lasting relationships with the community and folks are safer, but it also does a lot for prevention. When people know their officers and they’re spending time together, it really does a lot to deter crime.”

In addition to creating the Neighborhood Safety Unit, the measure will also require the Police Commission to create a Foot Patrol Strategy Map, require the Police Department to report twice a year on foot patrol data, and require officers within the safety units undergo training to serve diverse populations.

Police commissioner Cindy Elias, John Hamasaki and Dion-Jay Brookter are all in support of the measure.

“We’re making a lot of progress in the department and in the city in overcoming a history where we haven’t given enough attention to our communities, to our neighborhoods, to our district, to our small business owners, to our residents, to the people that need to see officers on the streets, in the communities, building relationships,” Hamasaki said.

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