The SFPD SAFE ZONE program was created by the San Francisco Police Department Chief’s LGBTQ+ Community Advisory Forum in an effort to address the perceived unwillingness and fear many within the LGBTQ+ community express when reporting crimes to police or interacting with Police in any capacity. This reluctance and fear often results in victims not reporting serious crimes against themselves, and often prevents individuals from being willing to provide statements or evidence for fear of a negative interaction, or worse, reprisals by Law Enforcement in some capacity.
While San Francisco is a SANCTUARY CITY which guarantees that Law Enforcement will not provide any information to Federal Immigration authorities related to anyone who is the victim of a crime or who is providing witness testimony to a crime – no matter what their immigration status is. Preventing crime, and prosecuting violent crime offenders is correctly seen as much more important to the City and County of San Francisco and its residents in general, than persecuting the victims of crime or those willing to provide statements and evidence to prosecute criminals simply as a consequence of their immigration or residency status.
The SAFE ZONE program extends the Sanctuary City concept to PROMISE and GUARANTEE that members of the LGBTQ+ community will be treated with RESPECT, COMPASSION, and EMPATHY when reporting crimes as a victim or as a witness. Many people harbor negative interactions with Law Enforcement personnel from their home locations which may be well outside of California, where the Police are far less understanding or empathetic to the LGBTQ+ community. The San Francisco Police Department is committed to treating EVERYONE with respect, compassion, and empathy, and this extends to all members of the LGBTQ+ community without exception.
All members of the LGBTQ+ community can feel confident that they can call on Police, enter any Police station, or invite any Police Officer into their home in order to report being the victim or a crime, or to provide witness statements to crimes, and they will be greeted with RESPECT, COMPASSION, and EMPATHY at all times.
SFPD DISTRICT POLICE STATIONS
All district Police Stations have the SFPD SAFE ZONE sign prominently displayed on all entrance doors to the station, and the sign should be prominently displayed at the public reporting window within the station.
AS THE VICTIM OF, OR WITNESS TO, A CRIME
All SFPD Officers receive training and exposure to the varied LGBTQ+ community during their Police Academy and through on-going continuous education training throughout their career. SFPD Officers by policy and procedure are REQUIRED to treat all members of the public with courtesy, respect, and empathy. You should feel confident in reporting the details of any crime you are the victim of to any San Francisco Police Officer, either in your home, on the street, or at any district police station.
You are always welcome to invite a family member, friend, or community organization participant to accompany and support you when you are meeting with, or reporting crimes or witness statements to Police, at home, on the street, or in any district police station.
If at any time you feel the Officer/s you are interacting with are not treating you with respect, courtesy, and empathy, you may request that a SUPERVISOR be called to attend. The supervisor, normally a sergeant but it could also be a higher ranking Officer, should be able to resolve any difficulties appropriately.
IF YOU DO EXPERIENCE INAPPROPRIATE CONDUCT OR ACTIONS BY SFPD
In the event that you feel any SFPD Officer has, or is, acting inappropriately, or they are not treating you with respect, courtesy, and compassion, you are entitled to request a SUPERVISOR to attend if you are dealing with the Officer/s directly, or you may certainly file a complaint after the incident.
The Department of Police Accountability is charged with impartially investigating complaints against SFPD officers and making policy recommendations regarding police practices. You can also call the DPA at 1-415-241-7711 (the TTY line is 1-415-241-7770 or visit the Department of Police Accountability website to file a complaint at https://sfgov.org/dpa/.
The DPA is located at 1 South Van Ness, 8th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103
You may also contact a department supervisor at any SFPD police station. Each station is open 24 hours a day. SFPD personnel are required to receive complaints courteously and to assist you with filing them.
Please be aware that:
- The San Francisco Police Commission investigates all complaints forwarded by the DPA and makes recommendations for discipline by the Chief of Police.
- For information about our conduct, complaint and disciplinary process, please view these Department General Orders:
IF YOU EXPERIENCE OUTSTANDING CONDUCT OR ACTIONS BY SFPD
We certainly HOPE and EXPECT that you will receive, at least, appropriate conduct and actions by any SFPD Officer you interact with – no matter what the circumstances are, but many Officers go above and beyond the normal expectations. It is always nice to recognize these Officers and these interactions by writing or emailing the Officers District Station Captain, or by writing directly to the Chief of Police.
Commendations for Officers who go above and beyond are just as important as reprimands for those who fall short of expectations.
For information on how to compliment an officer, please click here.