Think of a Bayview native whose ability to practice community policing might be enhanced by lifelong ties to southeastern San Francisco churches, extended families, businesses, and clubs. Ending local police recruiting "defeats the urgent need for us to have police who live in a certain neighborhood to police that neighborhood," Bayview police watchdog Mesha Irizarry says.

In January, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi successfully sponsored a bill putting police vocational training programs in local high schools and junior colleges. The idea was to produce more locally rooted officers, a goal Gascón recently undermined.

On Aug. 19, the city's Department of Human Resources produced a memo, obtained through a public records request, saying the police department wanted the option to recruit "only applicants who satisfy the requirements of the Police Department's Lateral Police Officer Hiring Program," which involves officers from out-of-town departments. The latest batch hailed from the Alameda County Sheriff's Department, the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety, and the Novato Police Department.

Gascón declined through a spokeswoman to be interviewed. But he has apparently been giving lip service to local hiring. Rescinding local recruitment "comes despite actions by Chief Gascón, and others including the mayor, that commit to more recruitment of San Franciscans," Mirkarimi says.

Gascón apparently told Avalos something similar. "In my conversations with the police chief, I've heard him say he'd like to have a stronger pathway to have local residents in the police force," Avalos recalls. "He said it fits in with his ideas around community policing."

Perhaps with money saved by ditching Avalos' expensive bill, the city should help the chief remain true to his word.

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