Wednesday, April 17, 2013

SFPD: 60 Laptops Were a Grant, Not a Gift?

The San Francisco Police Department's Maureen Conefrey, who works in the legal division, has responded to my complaint of a week ago about Hewlett-Packard's gift of sixty top-of-the-line laptop computers in June 2012 to the department. Conefrey writes:

With regards to the laptop computers: this donation was considered a grant, not a gift, since it was directed toward a specific project. At the Mayor's office's direction, we followed the process for grant funding, which includes the Grant Information Form. That form is not posted, but notification of all details of the grant are formally posted in two places. The first place is on our SFPD web site. Here is the documentation of the grant's approval by the Police Commission on November 28, 2012 (sic). [It was on the commission agenda for July 11, 2012.]

At the link, it says the chief requested approve of the gift and the word grant was never used:

Chief Suhr gave a brief background regarding the donation and went on to thank Hewlett Packard for their donation. [...] RESOLVED, that the Police Commission hereby recommends that the Board of Supervisors accept a gift from Hewlett Packard to the San Francisco Police Department of sixty (60) laptops, valued at approximately $59,400.00. 

Conefrey also writes:

The second public posting of this grant was in the Board of Supervisors approval which was received on July 31, 2012 and linked here.

The BOS minutes show the following introduction made by President David Chu:

Accept Gift - Computers for the Police Department - $59,400

Again, the word grant was not used. The laptops were a gift, as far I'm concerned, and they along with every other gift made to the police department are not disclosed on the department's About Us page.

I strongly suggest that Chief Suhr immediately establish a gifts disclosure page along the lines of the one maintained by the City Attorney here. The public needs to be able to quickly locate all gifts - travel, monetary, computers, software - made to the department on its web site.

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