San Francisco, CA – The San Francisco police chief has determined that telling suspects to sit on the ground or sidewalk is “demeaning,” and that officers who continue this practice will be violating department policy.
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott recently explained the policy change in a department memo.
According to a department spokesperson, the change is “aligned with 21st century policing, our department values and our commitment to [providing] safety with respect to everyone whom our officers encounter,” KTVU reported.
In the memo, Chief Scott told officers that seating any “detained subject” on the sidewalk or ground “should be avoided.”
He suggested that officers also consider “whether any detained individual should be placed in handcuffs” and if backup officers should be called to assist.
The chief said there would still be some “exceptional” cases where suspects attempt to resist arrest and have to be taken “to the ground,” but noted that they should be secured in a patrol vehicle as soon as possible.
“In order to carry out duties respectfully and professionally, sitting a subject on the ground or sidewalk should be done only as a last resort and only when necessary,” Chief Scott wrote.
Chief Scott also ordered that officers complete an incident report “anytime it is necessary to seat an individual on the ground,” according to the memo.
It was unclear what may have prompted the policy change.