Monday, August 2, 2010

San Francisco PD Outsources Police Work to Civilian Investigators

Today, NPR's Morning Edition host interviewed San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon about a pilot program the SFPD is launching which will train civilian investigators to respond to low-level crimes not in progress, such as burglaries and auto thefts.

Chief Gascon hopes that letting non-police investigators do some of the legwork on these non-violent crimes will speed the process of responding to and collecting evidence at lower-priority crime scenes, will take some of the pressure off dwindling city funds for law enforcement, and will free up police officers to respond to more urgent calls and to investigate violent and other serious crimes, such as gang-related activity.

"So at the end of the day, you end up with a better preliminary investigation with a collection of evidence," says Gascon, who admits that busy officers often take hours to respond to burglary and theft calls. "...Civilians are just as able to be trained to have a great level of skills and handle evidence in court as well as sworn." (courtesy of NPR)

Chief Gascon hopes the program will be up and running by early next year.

For an AP brief on this topic from the New York Times, go here.

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