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The primary focus of the Community Liaison Unit is to gain the trust of the community, improve reporting of crime, support victims and their families, and seek out information that leads to the resolution of hate crimes and prejudice-based incidents. This team of officers will be responsible for SFPD's tracking of prejudice-based incidents, identifying patterns, and intervention techniques, and helping the community navigate the criminal justice system. They will serve as a liaison to San Francisco's diverse communities, including the Asian and Pacific Islander, African American, LGBTQ, Muslim, and Latino communities, communities with limited English proficiency, and older San Franciscans.
"We want to make sure that anyone who is a victim of a hate crime or any other crime motivated by prejudice knows that their City and their Police Department is there to help them. This new unit will give the community a place to turn to when they need assistance, and where they know they'll be treated with dignity and respect," said Mayor Breed. "We're allocating our resources in a way that focuses on helping the community navigate the criminal justice system, which can be confusing and intimidating if you don't have help, and we're continuing our work to prevent crime from happening in the first place."
"Building trust and communication between law enforcement and diverse communities is crucial to keeping our communities safe," said Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco). "With anti-Asian sentiment and hate crimes on the rise, this new program will be especially beneficial for our API communities navigating this difficult time."
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The Community Liaison Unit is part of Mayor Breed's public safety reform roadmap and efforts to support violence prevention and deploy resources in a way that supports the community. It allows police officers to conduct proactive outreach with community members and community-based organizations, and to build relationships before crime happens. When crimes do occur, the Community Liaison Unit is charged with enhancing the Department's response and providing assistance to victims.
The creation of the new unit comes as there are increased reports of violence against Asian and Pacific Islander residents in San Francisco. The Community Liaison Unit builds on Mayor Breed's efforts to bring the community together against discrimination. Recently, Mayor Breed and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission launched the Stand Together campaign, which is focused on denouncing and combating discrimination in San Francisco. Additionally, Mayor Breed's Opportunities for All program has created a Cross-Cultural Justice Cohort, which has 10 youth who are working to build a youth coalition between the Asian and Pacific Islander community and the African American community in San Francisco.
"The San Francisco Police Department is committed to working collaboratively with community members, community-based organizations, other city agencies, and others, in order to reduce violent crime, create safer communities, and enhance the health and vibrancy of neighborhoods in San Francisco," said San Francisco Police Chief William Scott. "This new unit within our Community Engagement Division will support our ongoing efforts and ensure that the City's diverse communities feel safe and comfortable working with SFPD officers. Maintaining this trust and cooperation with the community is essential to our crime prevention mission and in solving crimes when they do occur."
"CYC has a strong commitment to build a violence free community with our partners by developing community driven strategies to address the root causes of violence," said Sarah Wan, Executive Director, Community Youth Center of San Francisco. "It is important for our monolingual Chinese and immigrant communities to feel safe and have more access to resources to live without fear. The newly formed Community Liaison Unit is one step forward in being more intentional in building and earning trustful relationships with the community."
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"As someone who has had over 30 years of experience in working with our seniors and monolingual Chinese residents, I am excited, grateful and hopeful for this newly formed SFPD unit to work with our community. This new unit will help address the underlying causes of some of the safety issues in a linguistically and culturally competent way," said Marlene Tran, Spokesperson of the Visitacion Valley Asian Alliance, current Southeast Community Facility Commissioner, and former Immigrant Rights Commissioner. "This effort by Mayor Breed and the SFPD is important to our community's safety especially during this unprecedented time. I also want to take this opportunity to remind all our residents to support our police department and report all crimes."
San Francisco's existing Community Liaison Officers in the SFPD's Community Engagement Division work hand-in-hand with Mayor Breed's Street Violence Intervention Program and community crime prevention programs. They also educate and advise communities of their rights and responsibilities.
This new unit will support San Francisco's Community Liaison Officers at each of the ten SFPD district stations. The officers will serve as a liaison between and in partnership with the SFPD District Stations, Investigations Bureau, the Media Relations Unit, the District Attorney's Office, and the community, to improve the flow of communication on the status of cases and keep victims informed.
The officers in the Community Liaison Unit will regularly attend community meetings throughout the City with an emphasis in getting to know the community well, building partnerships and establishing trust. They will provide educational information to the community to prevent individuals from becoming victims of crime and to encourage reporting. Additionally, they will coordinate presentations and connect the community with nonprofit agencies and other resources that specifically address hate crimes and prejudice-based incidents.
The Unit aims to serve all members of San Francisco's diverse communities, including residents who do not speak English. Over the coming months, the Community Liaison Unit will promote the use of crime tip lines dedicated to non-English language speakers, and will improve the SFPD's communication with monolingual speaking residents through the use of social media platforms such as "We Chat."
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