San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman. Photo by Chris Stone

All but seven of 40 recommendations from a federal study of the San Diego Police Department have been implemented, and the rest are in process, Chief Shelley Zimmerman said Wednesday.

In an update to the City Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee, Zimmerman said 14 of the recommendations of the Police Executive Research Forum were put into practice recently.

The PERF report was issued in March last year in response to repeated instances of officer misconduct, including sexual assaults of women and breaking into homes to steal prescription painkillers. Some of the recommendations required major changes on the part of the SDPD, which have taken time to implement.

Among the more recent directives put into effect by the department were putting more emphasis on hiring of minorities and women; annual training for supervisors to ensure members of the public feel they’re being treated fairly; establishing a new staffing model that reduces the need for acting sergeants; and developing ways to measure whether personnel are using community-oriented policing methods, according to the chief.

Councilwoman Myrtle Cole, who represents neighborhoods south of state Route 94, said the increased presence of Zimmerman, captains and officers in her district for recruiting or community events has been noticed.

“It’s making a difference — the relationship (with residents) is building — I see it, I hear it and it’s making a difference. I appreciate that,” Cole said.

When the report was issued, Mayor Kevin Faulconer said it was critical to restore public confidence in the SDPD.

The seven remaining recommendations have to do with an employee performance database designed to identify outliers, such as officers who receive more complaints than others. Zimmerman said all of the PERF suggestions should be implemented by the end of this year.

–City News Service

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