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To Serve And Protect

Thursday, Dec. 08, 2005 12:59 PM

It is extremely disappointing to hear of another video fiasco, this time involving the San Francisco Police Department.

The video clips that brought the affair to light mock minorities and treat women as sex objects, drawing harsh criticism from SFPD Chief Heather Fong and Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Andrew Cohen, the officer responsible for producing the videos says he has done so before without drawing a reprimand, and that they were intended as, 'morale boosters,' an excuse reminiscent of that offered up for the training video that embarassed the San Francisco 49ers earlier this year.

Cohen goes on to opine that Chief Fong has bigger fish to fry, given the City's 100+ homicides, saying, "The fact of the matter is that she has an out-of-control department."

That much is obvious.

Serving the community requires that the police have the confidence of that community, a commodity ill-served by 'joke' videos.

I'm not saying Chief Fong should be immune from criticism, nor that institutional humor is inherently wrong. But a joke meant for a small circle of coworkers may be decidedly unfunny to an outsider, and that's where this video has landed.

It's unfortunate for everyone involved.



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