Voters Support Major Police Reform in San Francisco - Proposition H Sets Standard of Police Oversight

November 5, 2003 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

First Department in Nation to Put Civilians in Control of Entire Complaint Process


SAN FRANCISCO -The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California today hailed the passage of Proposition H, making San Francisco the first city in the nation in which every stage of the police complaint process – from the investigation of the complaint to disciplinary decisions – is controlled by civilians.

“This is a real victory for the people of San Francisco and a mandate for national change,” said Mark Schlosberg, Police Practices Policy Director of the ACLU of Northern California. “We intend to ensure that police accountability, responsibility and reform become a way of life in our city and a model for police reform and accountability nationwide.”

The measure, which passed on November 4, gives an independent agency – the Office of Citizen Complaints (OCC) — the power to bring formal disciplinary charges against police officers.

Proposition H came on the heels of scathing reports from the ACLU, the OCC, the City Controller, and the Civil Grand Jury detailing a breakdown in police accountability procedures and recommending reforms. It was supported by a wide cross-section of San Franciscans including all three District Attorney candidates, four of five major mayoral candidates, labor unions, civil rights groups and community leaders.

The measure passed despite an intense campaign by the Police Officers’ Association that outspent “Yes on H” by at least three to one. The association aired misleading television advertisements, placed numerous auto-dial phone calls, and sent out multiple mailers, but San Francisco voters saw through all the misinformation.

“It is no longer business as usual in San Francisco,” said Schlosberg.

By completing this form, I agree to receive occasional emails per the terms of the ACLU’s privacy policy.

The Latest in Smart Justice

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About Smart Justice

Smart Justice issue image

The ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice is an unprecedented, multiyear effort to reduce the U.S. jail and prison population by 50% and to challenge racism in the criminal legal system.