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Cops: The Soap Opera

The S.F. police union has gone off the rails.


This story is part of our April 2016 cover story “The City Report Card,” a 24-part assessment of the true state of San Francisco. We’ll be posting new grades daily on Click here to read other status reports on policing, housing, schools, parks, pot dispensaries, the mayor, and more.

The San Francisco Police Officers Association is one of this city’s most influential—and aggressive—unions. But of late, it has turned the bellicosity up to 11. Last year Gary Delagnes, the POA’s former president and ever-present consultant, was fined by the city for illegal lobbying after he threatened, in writing, to unleash the dollars and enmity of the union on Supervisor Malia Cohen if she supported a resolution opposing police brutality. The POA’s take on the Kate Steinle tragedy: She was “murdered in cold blood” by “an ILLEGAL ALIEN [their emphasis], not an undocumented immigrant.” And the POA has dug in to oppose the battery of Mario Woods–inspired reforms unveiled February 22 and, unsurprisingly, the Board of Supervisors’ earlier unanimous call for a Mario Woods Day. After that vote, Delagnes decried the supes as “idiots” who chose to “honor a street thug.”

Everyone understands that the POA is going to zealously defend its members’ interests (our officers are among the best paid in the country, due, in large part, to the POA). But its obstructionist, hyperaggressive, cops-are-beyond-reproach tactics are not serving it or the city well.

Grade: D

Originally published in the April issue of
San Francisco

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