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Voter’s Edge California
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Presentado por
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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
KPBS Voters Guide@KPBSNews
June 5, 2018 — Elecciones Primarias de California
Local

City of San Francisco
Proposition H Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

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Resultados electorales

Failing

90,334 votos si (38.06%)

146,997 votos no (61.94%)

Policy for the Use of Tasers by San Francisco Police Officers
— undefined

Shall the City set a policy for when police officers can use tasers and authorize the Police Department to purchase tasers for all officers, subject to specific conditions?

¿Qué es esta propuesta?

Pros y Contras — Explicación objetiva con argumentos a favor y en contra

Fuente: League of Women Voters San Francisco

La pregunta

Shall the City set a policy for when police officers may use tasers and authorize the Police Department to purchase tasers for all officers, subject to specific conditions?

Note: The Pros & Cons are also available in Spanish and Chinese.

La situación

The San Francisco Police Association has been advocating for the use of tasers for years, and is now asking voters to decide the question after the Police Commission has been deadlocked for years on the issue.

However, in March 2018, the Police Commission approved the use of tasers. This ballot measure nevertheless appears before voters because it is impossible to remove a measure from the ballot after enough signatures have been gathered and submitted.

La propuesta

The measure would approve the purchase and use of conductive energy devices (CEDs) -- more commonly known by the brand name of Tasers --  by the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). Tasers discharge an electrical shock intended to temporarily incapacitate a person.

Only officers who successfully complete a training would be authorized to use tasers issued by the SFPD and each time an officer used a taser an investigation would be opened into the circumstances.  Officers would be required to carry their tasers in holsters on the opposite side of their body from their firearm. Police vehicles would be required to carry defibrillators to revive someone.

 

A “YES” Vote Means: You want to set a policy for the use of tasers and authorize the purchase of tasers for each police officer by the Police Department, subject to specific conditions.

A “NO” Vote Means: You do not want to adopt this measure.

Sus partidarios dicen

¡     Proposition H would provide police officers with a non-lethal alternative to fire arms in dealing with people actively resisting, assaulting or acting in a way likely to result in serious bodily harm to themselves or others.

¡     The proposition would lower the number of deaths and injuries from police shootings by providing a less-lethal alternative.

¡     The proposition would reduce injuries sustained by police officers and community members.

Sus oponentes dicen

¡     The current San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott, who supports tasers generally, opposes the ballot measure because it removes control over future decision-making around taser policy from the Police Department and Police Commission. Any future changes to the policy around the training and use of tasers would require approval by voters or four-fifths majority of the Board of Supervisors.

¡     The proposition would not reduce police violence because tasers can cause serious injury, or even death when used on vulnerable populations (ie pregnant women, people with heart arrhythmia, the elderly, etc). Officers who would carry both a firearm and a taser also may reach for the wrong weapon in the heat of the moment.

¡     Tasers would not improve and may worsen relations with communities of color and vulnerable groups such as the homeless and mentally ill, upon whom tasers may be disproportionately used. 

Información básica sobre la iniciativa de ley — Información oficial sobre esta iniciativa

Un voto por el SÍ significa

A “YES” Vote Means: If you vote "yes," you want to set a policy for the use of tasers and authorize the purchase of tasers for each police officer by the Police Department, subject to specific conditions.

Un voto por el NO significa

A “NO” Vote Means: If you vote "no," you do not want to adopt this measure.

Resumen

Ballot Simplification Committee

The Way It Is Now: The San Francisco Police Commission is a civilian body that sets policy for the Police Department. In November 2017, the Commission authorized the Police Department to use tasers starting December 2018. The Commission is developing a policy on tasers.

Tasers are weapons that discharge electrical currents into an individual. Automated external defibrillators are portable medical devices used following a heart attack. San Francisco police officers do not currently use tasers. About half of Police Department patrol vehicles have defibrillators.

Any voter-approved policy on tasers cannot be changed by the Commission or the Police Department.

Under the City budget process, the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor must approve the City’s budget each year. The Police Department makes budget requests for equipment as part of the budget process.

The Proposal: Proposition H sets policy for when officers can use tasers. Tasers may be used when a person is actively resisting, assaulting or exhibiting any action likely to result in serious bodily injury or death of another person, themselves or a police officer.

Proposition H would authorize the Police Department to purchase tasers for each police officer, subject to the following conditions:

• Successfully completing the Department’s use-offorce and threat assessment training;

• Using only Police Department-issued tasers and holsters;

• Holstering on the side of the officer’s body opposite from the firearm;

• Equipping Police Department vehicles with defibrillators in districts where tasers are carried; and

• Investigating and reporting each time an officer uses a taser.

The Police Department must request funding for the purchase of tasers and defibrillators 45 days after this measure is enacted.

This measure may be amended only by a majority of the voters of San Francisco or by an ordinance adopted by a vote of four-fifths of the Board of Supervisors.

Efectos fiscales

City Controller Ben Rosenfield

City Controller Ben Rosenfield has issued the following statement on the fiscal impact of Proposition H:

The cost of the proposed ordinance, should it be approved by the voters, is dependent on decisions that the Mayor and Board of Supervisors make through the budget process, as an ordinance cannot bind future Mayors and Boards of Supervisors to provide funding for this or any other purpose. In my opinion, the cost of fully funding the program created in the proposed measure, should future policymakers do so, is likely to be significant.

The measure establishes a City policy and program to provide tasers for each uniformed officer in the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). The program would increase the City’s costs by an estimated $4.5 million for the purchase of tasers and for initial training. There would also be a new ongoing annual cost of approximately $200,000 for training, recertification and equipment. These costs could be somewhat reduced if the SFPD adjusts the implementation and schedule of the program.

The measure specifies requirements for Police Officer training and certification in the use of tasers and investigating and reporting any instance when a taser is activated. The measure requires having defibrillators available in police vehicles which is already an SFPD practice.

As stated above, an ordinance cannot bind future Mayors and Boards of Supervisors to provide funding for this or any other purpose. Under the City Charter, the ultimate cost of this proposal depends on decisions made in the City’s annual budget process.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

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