REPORT: SFPD Resolve 99.9 Percent of Crisis-Related Calls Peacefully

One look at the San Francisco Police Crisis Intervention Team 2020 Police Commission Report reveals an extraordinary fact: of the almost 50,000 annual crisis-related calls for service, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) used force only 51 times—a use-of-force rate of 00.1 percent, according to a report

published July 7, 2021 by the Force Science Institute’s Force Science News.

Out of 2,800 people being detained for mental health evaluations—6 percent of the crisis-related calls—only 44 people were arrested (.08 percent of the crisis calls) for felony offenses and warrants, per the news report. The report went on to highlight that “non-escalation, de-escalation and persuasion during mental-health-related incidents are some of the most complex, time-consuming, and challenging engagements,” yet the SFPD officers were able to resolve 99.9 percent of their crisis-related calls through peaceful means.

According to the news report, the SFPD’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Unit completed a 20-hour Force Science De-Escalation Course. Force Science (FSI)

instructor Dr. John Azar-Dickens, who read the commission report and who is a key developer of the course, said: “The SFPD CIT team is one of the most sophisticated and effective law enforcement crisis intervention teams I have ever seen. Their 2020 report to the police commission features compelling evidence of their continued effectiveness.”

In addition to Dr. Azar-Dickens’ commendation, the SFPD CIT Unit has also received accolades from the California Police Officer’s Association, which in 2019 presented the SFPD CIT Unit with the Award of Distinction for Excellence in CIT Training and Crisis Response, per the news report.

Despite the accolades, the SFPD Crisis Intervention Team remains committed to ever-improving the effectiveness of their tactics and responses, said Force Science News in its report.

The news report cited Lieutenant Mario Molina, the coordinator of the SFPD’s CIT program, as being proud of their training: “…as of December 2020 over 96 percent of SFPD is trained in Crisis Intervention Threat Assessment and Field Tactics and over 52 percent have received Certification status in Crisis Intervention Training. Our CIT Training Sergeants, Sgt. Donald Anderson and Sgt. Laura Colin, have implemented hundreds of classes in the last few years and have truly fortified our officers with the highest degree of law enforcement crisis intervention training.”

And while he is proud of their programs, Lt. Molina praised the SFPD officers’ excellence. “While the statistics are compelling, our officers represent crisis intervention at its best. It is in their humanity, and everyday real-life applications of de-escalation and strategic field tactics that we are able to see such profound results.”

Read the entire Force Science News report here.