Two San Francisco supervisors are pushing for a ballot measure that would aim to replenish a fully staffed police force in the city.
Supervisors Matt Dorsey and Catherine Stefani recently introduced a charter amendment that would establish a fully staffed police department within five years through a budget set-aside.
The San Francisco Police Department Full Staffing Act would appear before voters on the March 2024 ballot.
If passed, the amendment would establish minimum police staffing levels and create baseline funding to ensure standards are met.
The proposed legislation would re-establish a mandated police staffing level to 2,182 officers citywide. As the city increases its police presence, it would also create a budget provision to reach benchmark numbers, like having at least 1,800 officers citywide in the amendment’s first year.
After five years, the unspent funds would be used to create a recruitment and retention bonuses fund, according to the charter amendment request sent to City Attorney David Chiu.
“We need to make a commitment to San Franciscans that we have an actionable plan to fulfill the promise of a fully staffed police department, for our neighborhoods, for our city and for our economy.”Supervisor Matt Dorsey
San Francisco voters initially approved mandated staffing levels in 1994, though the city has not seen a fully staffed police department for nearly 30 years, reads the request. Today, the city is short over 500 police officers from the proposed minimum staffing level.
And after the city’s Proposition E passed in 2020, which removed mandatory staffing levels, San Francisco has seen “plummeting” police levels, reads the request.
“Amidst a nationwide crisis in police understaffing, and the most competitive environment for law enforcement personnel in modern history, City Hall’s persistent inability to address or meaningfully remedy our wholly foreseeable generational police staffing shortage is resulting in mounting public safety challenges, which are inflicting myriad harms on San Francisco’s residents and visitors, on our neighborhoods, and on our City’s economic wellbeing,” reads the request.
Dorsey said he was prompted to make the drafting request public at last Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting in light of the closure of the Mid-Market Whole Foods. On April 11, the grocery store on Eighth and Market streets said it was closing due to employee safety concerns.
Dorsey said he is well aware of the safety issues that the grocery store faced, like drug-related theft and nearby drug markets. He said that for too long communities are suffering from the lack of police staff available to help.
“We need to make a commitment to San Franciscans that we have an actionable plan to fulfill the promise of a fully staffed police department, for our neighborhoods, for our city and for our economy,” Dorsey said.