SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – In the wake of the death of George Floyd, San Francisco’s police chief says that he’s ‘open to the idea’ of defunding his department.
“We are at a time in policing in this country when the whole world is speaking to us and we need to hear what’s being said. And what’s being said is we have to change the way we police in this country. And I think to me I’m open to that,” Chief Bill Scott said.
Chief Bill Scott made the comments during a Monday night virtual panel that also featured the city’s DA, public defender and sheriff.
Scott was asked by the moderator about his position on the concept of defunding the police — a rallying cry at many of the protests that have erupted across the world over the death of George Floyd.
Some supporters say it’s not an elimination of law enforcement but a shrinking of the scope of police responsibilities, shifting them to other professionals, such as homeless outreach or mental health workers.
“There are a lot of things out there that can be done and I think we need to be open this is a great opportunity to provide leadership and be bold and courageous and doing those things. It’s gonna take a lot of thought that’s all that I would ask from anybody is that we think through these issues they were very thoughtful and we make these decisions with thought and with good conscience,” Scott said.
Last Thursday, Mayor London Breed said she plans to redirect some funding resources from SFPD to support the African American community in the next budget.
The vice president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association is concerned about the form these cuts will take.
“I really worry about cutting the training budget because you want us trained in the de-escalation. Do you want to bring in the experts in that field to train us when we do go out and handle calls that may have that component we have that back and we have that training. It’s a rough time for everyone and we’re all just trying to come to the table together to come up with the best possible solution,” Tracy McCray said.
Lt. McCray says the police officers association is not opposed to making changes in the department and that San Francisco is in a unique position to lead the way, the union just wants to make sure they are part of that conversation.