Will SFPD Keep Tenderloin Together?

by on April 8, 2015

Chief Suhr addresses over 300 people at hearing on Tenderloin police station redistricting, Jan. 28

In the midst of turmoil, upheaval and the fall out following shameful behavior from some of San Francisco’s sworn officers, SFPD still has a chance to respond to community needs.

Early this year, we covered the Police Department’s process of “redistricting,” redrawing stations’ district boundaries. On Wednesday, April 8th the SFPD’s consultants will present alternatives to the original proposed plan. This is due at least in some part to wide-spread dismay about the police department’s originally proposed plan.

The proposed map that SFPD presented to the Police Commission in December, 2014 would most dramatically impact the Tenderloin Police District, which would gain roughly 30% more territory. This would include busy portions of midmarket and SOMA, as well as Westfield Centre and a new shopping mall under construction between 5th and 6th Streets.

Residents were concerned that the Police Department developed their original plan without adequate public input but the Police Commission subsequently held public meetings in the Tenderloin, Southern, Northern and Bay View Districts to hear resident concerns. When the Police Commission came to Tenderloin Station, roughly 300 people attended and public comment period was correspondingly lively.

The overwhelming sentiment from the audience was opposition to two elements of the proposed plan for Tenderloin Station’s expansion: first, residents asked that their district not include two shopping malls, and second, that it extend east of Larkin Street in order to cover the full historic Tenderloin neighborhood.

Gail Seagraves feels this issue acutely as she lives at the Elk Hotel on Eddy Street between Larkin and Polk, an area currently outside Tenderloin District. “We have senior citizens living here, and children, and unfortunately lots of drug dealers also spend all their time here. I’d like to see the district boundary extended to Polk or to Van Ness so that we are closer to the police station and we get officers serving us who are used to working in our neighborhood. I’ve only had a couple experiences with the other station’s officers and the way they treat people just doesn’t compare to how Tenderloin officers treat people—they know how to handle this neighborhood.”

Residents plan to attend the Police Commission meeting on April 8th (5:30 PM, City Hall Room 400) to hear alternative proposals and, hopefully, a plan that will truly serve the Tenderloin.

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Karin Drucker

Karin Drucker is an organizer for the Central City SRO Collaborative. She writes regularly on issues affecting the Tenderloin and SRO tenants, as well as on criminal justice issues.

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