As the city’s Ethics Commission debated whether Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was fit to hold his elected position this past June, the complex game of personality, politics and procedure eclipsed larger policy questions about the city’s approach to handling thousands of cases of domestic violence each year. But advocates for victims said the hearings generated wider awareness of the problem of domestic violence.
Far fewer charged than across the region, even with strongly worded ‘no-drop’ guidelines
Though San Francisco’s so-called “no-drop” policy requires pressing domestic violence charges when evidence is sufficient to convict, the District Attorney’s Office pursued just 28 percent of cases through to trial or plea bargaining over the last 6 years. This story appeared as part of a special report on domestic violence in the Fall 2012 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.
By the end of September, when he receives a scheduled raise, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr will be the highest paid police chief in any major American city. A review of the police departments in the 60 largest cities in California and 24 of the largest police forces across the country found that Suhr’s annual salary of over $307,450 will push Suhr’s pay just beyond that of the Los Angeles chief.
The San Francisco Police Department appeared to save money over the last three years by paying veteran officers extra to delay their retirement and freezing hiring of new recruits. But the bill for those changes is now coming due. Much of those savings have been wiped out since 2008, after a flood of officers took advantage of the Deferred Retirement Option Program to dip into their pensions early while still earning a salary.
In a hearing room in City Hall last week, reporters scrambled to get play-by-play reaction from followers of suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, sporting blue-and-white “Stand With Ross” stickers, and organized opponents, with purple signs saying, “There’s no excuse for domestic violence.” The complex game of personality, politics and procedure has for the most part eclipsed larger policy questions about the city’s approach to handling thousands of cases of domestic violence each year. But as the city’s Ethics Commission continues to debate whether Mirkarimi is fit to hold his elected position, advocates for victims say the hearings are helping generate awareness about the wider problem of domestic violence, and the needed response from social service agencies and law enforcement.