Home>Articles>SF Mayor London Breed Proposes $27.6 Million In Funding For SFPD Overtime

Mayor London Breed speaking at the the Women's March rally, Jan. 18, 2020, San Francisco, CA. (Photo: Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock)

SF Mayor London Breed Proposes $27.6 Million In Funding For SFPD Overtime

Funding would go towards overtime hours to help bridge severe officer shortage gap in city

By Evan Symon, February 16, 2023 12:31 pm

San Francisco Mayor London Breed Proposed earlier this week that San Francisco should authorize $27.6 million in additional overtime funding for the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) to help retain officers and to make up for a severe officer shortage in the city.

The number of full-duty SFPD officers has been falling for years in San Francisco. While the recommended SFPD staffing level is placed at 2,182 officers, high numbers of  retirements, resignations, transfers, and terminations kept the number of officers several hundred below that in the 2010’s. A rise in crime rates, a skyrocketing cost of living, criminal prosecution issues caused by the former DA, uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, double-digit percentage budget cuts, and police defunding efforts in the wake of the George Floyd protests since the beginning of the decade severely escalated the issue, with hundreds more leaving. The numbers sharply fell, from 1,911 officers being active at the beginning of 2020 to 1,651 in September 2022.

While the Board of Supervisors quickly approved funding to get hundreds more on board last year, the issues surrounding the SFPD kept many prospective officers away. Not helping matters were stories of crime in San Francisco and high profile incidents such as attacks targeting Asian-Americans and an assault on Nancy Pelosi’s husband quickly causing the city to become a national punchline. Last month, the number of officers hit a new low, with only 1,537 officers remaining in the SFPD, with almost 500 of them being eligible for retirement. Supervisors proposed more ideas last month in an attempt to right the situation, including higher recruitment bonuses.

San Francisco Supervisor Matt Dorsey (Photo: sanfranciscopolice.org)

“San Francisco is on the precipice of a potentially catastrophic police staffing shortage, and there are too many public safety problems we’ll be helpless to solve if we don’t start solving SFPD’s understaffing crisis first,” said Supervisor Matt Dorsey in a statement last month.

With the city tackling the long-term solution of staffing and proper police coverage, a short-term solution also proved to be needed, resulting in Mayor Breed’s $27.6 million overtime shortage proposal on Tuesday. According to Breed, the money would go to both backfill previous funding cuts and help incentivize officers to stay on and continue the likely record breaking amount of overtime hours that officers are on track to complete this year. In the previous fiscal year, 425,000 overtime hours were recorded, while this year alone has already brought in 380,000 overtime hours to help keep up with the officer shortage.

“We have been working hard to address serious public safety challenges in San Francisco, but we need our officers out on the street,” said Mayor Breed on Tuesday in a statement. “While we are working on strategies to address our staffing shortages, we can’t wait to ensure our officers are able to provide the basic services our residents deserve and that our prosecutors can hold drug dealers and repeat offenders accountable. We need officers responding to break-ins, breaking up the open-air drug dealing in the Tenderloin, and addressing the shootings and violent crimes in our neighborhoods. This funding is essential for keeping our City safe.”

Police officials were adamant that the overtime proposal pass, as without it an overtime and hiring freeze would need to be put into place until June when the City budget is readjusted.

“The SFPD–and police agencies nationwide–are facing a staffing crisis that does not relieve us of our duty to protect the people of San Francisco,” added SFPD Chief Bill Scott. “While the Department actively plans for long-term hiring solutions, overtime is a necessary short-term intervention that will better meet calls for service workload demands, and the multifaceted service needs of public safety in our city.”

A  severe shortage of Police officers in San Francisco

While many in San Francisco have come out in support of the overtime plan in lieu of further officer shortages this year and high crime rates still being a huge problem in the city, safety and security experts noted that the City is only now trying to climb out of the hole they began digging nearly a decade ago when dips in the number of officers was first noticed.

“Where was all this concern for funding the police and hiring more officers in all these past years?,” asked Frank Ma, a former law enforcement official who now works as a security advisor for businesses in San Francisco and cities in the Peninsula, to the Globe on Thursday. “When Breed was leading the charge on defunding the police in 2020, where was the voice in the city government saying to stop because of all these shortages? Where was this support when the SFPD was begging for more people when more officers were being sent to places like the Tenderloin? That’s what many have ben asking, and a lot of people in the SFPD feel like they’ve been taken for granted for years.”

“It’s good that we’re at least trying to get some sort of solution and the money these people desperately need now before things get even worse, but they’ve been getting worse for years. And this funding, even with it, many in the SFPD will still feel underappreciated for having to work all these long hours away from their families and any free time.”

“I’ll give a perfect story on how they feel right now. An officer who is a friend of mine was on duty watching over the protests in 2020, and one prominent protestor spat at him and said he shouldn’t be in ‘their city’. This was during the bad days of COVID mind you. A year later, this same protestor was robbed and came running up to this same officer for help. He did what he was supposed to do, and after writing up a report and having the SFPD be on the lookout for the suspect, he playfully reminded him what he said the previous year and the man’s mind hadn’t changed, despite needing the SFPD and the officer doing all that he could for him. That’s the level of not being appreciated they are getting. This overtime funding is going to help stop officers leaving, but it will also be a sign that San Francisco still cares about their police force. It comes much later than when it was needed, but it comes.”

The decision over the overtime funding proposal is to go before the Budget Committee of the Board of Supervisors soon, with a vote by the Board itself to decide on the matter afterwards.

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4 thoughts on “SF Mayor London Breed Proposes $27.6 Million In Funding For SFPD Overtime

  1. …. and that folks is progressivism in a nutshell.
    Make the city an ungovernable place, make the city inhospitable to peace officers by reducing their capacity to bring law and order, and in return you have a severely reduced police force that cannot perform it’s duties.

    Planned destruction perhaps? Abolish the police, ring a bell?
    Who in their right mind that values their own life would take this job on in San Francisco?
    This is progressive dysfunction at it’s highest!!

  2. Millions in additional overtime funding for the SFPD would not be necessary if the leftist Democrat cabal that completely controls the city hadn’t created a severe officer shortage by continually attacking police officers for doing their jobs and mandating that they get poisonous experimental covid shots. SF Mayor London Breed is an incompetent affirmative action puppet who was installed by the Democrat cabal.

  3. That would only be enough to fund about 50 more people at the nearly $500K that Sergeant Michael Chung takes home every year.

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