SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Since George Floyd’s death a year ago, local residents might be wondering what type of law enforcement changes have happened here in the Bay Area.
Advocates for police reform say some steps have been made, but it’s still not enough.READ MORE: FDA Advisers Endorse Pfizer Booster Shots for Elderly, High-Risk Americans
In San Francisco, a department that found itself in the national spotlight for some very high-profile fatal shootings says data shows policy changes are working.
The 2015 officer-involved shooting of Mario Woods in the Bayview ignited a loud cry for police reform across the Bay Area.
That call only escalated after the killing of George Floyd.
“Every movement, we’ve had to fight for, scream about, protest for,” said Cat Brooks of the Anti-Police Terror Project.
A national campaign called “8 Can’t Wait” outlines eight changes for police departments, including a ban on chokeholds and strangleholds as well as shooting at moving vehicles.
SFPD says it is the first major city department to implement all eight reforms.
“We still have a way to go there, but we have made tremendous work on some of our key indicators, which are shootings, use of force, reduction in search and stop and a higher yield rate on those that we do search in stops,” said San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott.READ MORE: Metallica Plays Surprise Show at the Independent in San Francisco
SFPD data shows the number of use of force incidents in San Francisco has steadily dropped each year, from more than 3,700 in 2016, to 2,700 in 2018, and then to a little less than 1,600 last year.
“In terms of our policies, those changes have happened. Those are implemented or being implemented as we speak,” said Dustin DeRollo of the San Francisco Police Officers Association.
Last year’s movement to defund police has led to a seemingly never-ending budget battle within cities. The San Francisco Police Commission recently rejected a proposed 11% budget cut for the department.
“We’ve got a long way to go. And the fact that we’re still having a conversation with our elected officials about whether we need to or not divest or invest in our communities when our communities are in crisis is very telling,” said Brooks.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff’s proposed budget calls for an increase in police spending over the next two fiscal years, which goes against what the Oakland City Council has been calling for, namely to slash its funding by half.
SFPD says it’s bringing in more Black and indigenous people of color as recruits than ever before.
The department also says another real change is a result of its de-escalation training, pointing to the only three officer-involved shootings in 2020 compared to nine in 2015.MORE NEWS: 2 Charged In Hate Crime Spree Targeting Asian Women Across Bay Area
So far in 2021, there has been only been one San Francisco Police Department officer-involved shooting.