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SF Police To Keep More Detailed Racial Data On Arrests

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) - The San Francisco Police Department plans to classify all suspects by both race and ethnicity, Police Chief Greg Suhr said Wednesday, replacing a system which followed state guidelines to classify arrestees according to five racial categories.

Suhr promised the San Francisco Police Commission more detailed arrest data after the department was criticized in August for a longstanding practice of re-classifying some Latinos as white and some Asians as other in its arrest data.

KCBS' Chris Filippi Reports:

"This commission will know the race and ethnicity reporting of all the arrest data," Suhr said, noting that Department of Justice and FBI statistics do not use the 19 additional ethnic categories in the system to be adopted in San Francisco.

"What the FBI or DOJ does with our information, we have no control over," he said.

The Police Department is also working with the San Francisco Sheriff's Department to build a joint booking computer system that would offer comprehensive data on all arrests within the city, said Susan Giffin, chief technology officer for the police.

"We'll all have the same categories," Giffin said.

Critics who spoke before the Police Commission on Wednesday said the new categories for tracking arrests might still not be enough to prevent the type of underreporting that opens the door to racial profiling.

Two members of the Board of Supervisors have called for hearings into the crime reporting issue.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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