Trust the police? - Page 4

Relations between the cops and certain communities have been strained over the last year

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Protestors blocked Muni on the anniversary of Kenneth Harding Jr.'s death.
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY YAEL CHANOFF

Hewitt also has ideas for how to increase trust in police. "They need to understand the nuances, so they see Johnny with the hoodie on and know, he's a star quarterback. I'd like to see my cops, paid by my tax dollars, not going to Sonoma County to spend them. One day the officer might be out running and he'll have a hood on, and he'll understand the nuances of what people are going through," Hewitt said. She also advocates for housing set-aside for police in every neighborhood, insuring that officers live in neighborhoods they patrol.

We asked Manfredi about this idea. "I'm a big proponent of having officers live in the community where they work, because then they can engage with the community," he agreed. But, he said, "one of the major issues about San Francisco, the cost of living is extremely high. To buy a home out here, we're talking in the millions of dollars. That's just too expensive."

He said that to make the idea work, the city would need to "implement some type of program or plan where they offer discounts for public officials so they can afford to live in the city." He explained that even in less expensive areas like Bayview and Sunnydale, the cost of housing would be too high for police officers to raise a family.

The current entry-level salary for SFPD officers is $88,842 to $112,164. By comparison, the median household income in San Francisco is about $71,000. According to city-data.com, the median household income in Bayview is $47,147. In Sunnydale, Hewitt's neighborhood, that figure is $33,641. "I would say, the police are part of the community," Hewitt said. "And they must be held to community standards. What I'd like to do is make it part of common thought that they are perceived as community members." She said the African American community has differing ideas on how to address police-related problem, but the tension is widely felt. "It's not like the black community is monolithic," she said, "although we are bearing the collective brunt."

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