San Francisco police headquarters moves as Hall of Justice faces infrastructure issues

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) – The City of San Francisco's Hall of Justice is home to San Francisco criminal courts, the county prosecutor and even inmates.

But the city's Hall of Justice is under increased scrutiny after the aging building suffered several electrical outages Tuesday afternoon.

Court officials say no data was lost nor court sessions cancelled by the outages, but they are highlighting longstanding concerns about the building's safety.

On Wednesday morning, stuck elevators and "out of service" signs lined the Hall's marble walls.

The west side of the building was hit hard with three power outages and several departments had still not recovered by Wednesday evening.

"They've even had to run some extension cords from police department facilities... from the eastern end of the building all the way down the hall to the western end of the building, just so we can do business," said San Francisco Police Department Chief Greg Suhr.

In the District Attorney's office, the lights are on but a number of the power outlets - and a lot of computers- aren't working. "About 25 percent down, about 75 percent up, so still a lot of people that don't have access to their computers, can't do a lot of the legal work," said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon. "It is shameful."

City officials said the 57-year-old building is at risk in an earthquake and plan to move the DA's office into new quarters by 2022.

Gascon says that's not soon enough. "There's hundreds of citizens that come into this building every day, there's hundreds of city employees and county employees that work in this building, we have inmates in the jail," said Gascon. "It's completely unconscionable to continue to allow the status quo to go on."

Staffers showed KTVU ceiling leaks, and windows sandbagged to keep out moisture. There were several old fashioned mousetraps placed around the office to deal with a vermin problem.

Gascon also voiced concerns about asbestos in the flooring and walls and a first floor exit blocked on both sides of the door by a metal police barricade. "Now we're finding out that we're also a deathtrap when it comes to a fire," said Gascon.

The San Francisco Police Department is the first city agency to leave the Hall. It's set to move into its brand new digs in the city's Mission Bay neighborhood in the next few days. "It's time to go, and I empathize with those who are not getting to go," said Suhr.

Brian Strong, the Director of San Francisco's Capital Program, told KTVU replacing the Hall of Justice is a top priority, but doing the job all at once is estimated at $1.2 billion.

Instead, the work is being done department by department, with the police department first out, followed by plans to construct a new jail, before moving the prosecutors office and the Medical Examiner out to new facilities.
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