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San Francisco Police Department Faces Force Reduction of 11%

‘The city was spending like the good times would never end, but they did’

By Evan Symon, February 19, 2021 6:02 pm

A proposal by the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) was released Thursday detailing a plan to cut their police force by 11% later this month; 167 officers could be let go later this month. And that’s just the beginning.

Due to a massive tax loss in 2020 caused by Governor Gavin Newsom’s statewide ordered COVID-19 shutdowns and tech companies leaving the city, San Francisco’s budget deficit ballooned to $1.6 billion last year. Massive 15% department cuts in May 2020 ordered by Mayor London Breed had significantly lowered the deficit, but the amount stagnated, coming to $653 million by December 2020.

That month, Mayor Breed ordered another round of cuts, this time amounting to 7.5% for each department. The second round of cuts drew much criticism, with many noting that new programs such as a $6 million universal basic income pilot program were being approved despite the huge deficit.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

“The challenges facing our City in the months and years ahead are significant, and we have a lot of hard choices to make to get our City back on the road to recovery,” said Mayor Breed in a statement in December. “Closing this deficit will not be easy, and it’s going to require tough choices and real tradeoffs. While this pandemic will continue to slow our recovery, I know we can do the hard work to get this City moving forward.”

According to the SFPD’s budget proposal on Thursday, part of the 7.5% cut would be firing 167 officers, as well as 43 civilian staffers. The firings, which would reduce the city’s police force by 11%, may also be increased. Due to the high deficit amount, Mayor Breed also tacked on a contingency 2.5% cut amount for each department should the deficit get worse. Should the 2.5% contingency be added to the current cut, another 56 officers would be let go.

Should the 7.5% cut proposal be accepted next week, the 167 most recently hired officers would be let go. As the SFPD has increased diversity efforts in the 2010’s, 67% of the fired officers would be non-white, undoing almost a decades worth of efforts.

Newly hired officers would be the first eliminated because of a “last in, first out” mandate by the department. Two-thirds of the officers who could be affected by layoffs are people of color — 30% Latino, 28% Asian and 9% Black. Police say that these layoffs, as a result, could hurt diversity efforts in the force.

The San Francisco Police Commission rejected the budget proposal on Wednesday despite not being in a position to halt it, symbolically supporting the SFPD. The commission not only noted the undoing of diversity efforts, but stated that the cutbacks were unsafe due to a rise in crime in the city in 2020.

Post-COVID worries

Other experts have said that the cuts may also harm drawing tourists and visitors to the city post-COVID.

“Tech right now in San Francisco, the whole Bay Area really, is in a precarious position,” Bay Area-based developer advisor John Norris told the Globe. “The city built up a huge tax base after the Great Recession thanks to the tech boom. All the venture capitalists down on Sand Hill Road really made the city a lot of money.”

“But then came 2020. High taxes made tech companies on edge, and after COVID showed that remote working was really viable large-scale and long-term, many left the city, or if they stayed, really, really reduced the number of offices. I mean, skyscraper vacancy in San Francisco right now is over 17%. It hasn’t been that high in a long time. We’re talking decades.”

“And of course COVID itself. A lot of people were laid off and businesses closed and tourism dried up. Crime going up didn’t help. A lot of people even left the city for cheaper places elsewhere.”

“Now with vaccines coming out and light now appearing at the end of the tunnel, San Francisco should be preparing for people coming back again, at least to an extent. But cutting the police right when you’ll need them most? And not only that, but emergency services and other departments right when everything is coming back online? I understand there’s a deficit, but it’s crazy to me. The city was spending like the good times would never end, but they did. Hard. And now the city may not be fully ready again for when things normalize.”

“Some of those very progressive policies are now being involuntarily reversed, like SFPD diversification. In a way, the budget crisis is undoing some of the liberal policies in the city. It’s nuts.”

Final budget proposals are due in San Francisco on February 22nd.

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4 thoughts on “San Francisco Police Department Faces Force Reduction of 11%

  1. Time to get my criminal freak on. I’ve been resisting the temptation, but it’s just too inviting now. If you’re in Frisco, just know that I’ll soon be out on the loose with all the other meanies doing bad things for money — theft, break-in, hold-ups, etc. I need the cash, and Frisco doesn’t care, so GAME ON! I need some electronics and photo equipment first thing, then some drone stuff…a lot of it, please.

  2. Hasta la vista, San Franfreakshow…

    Your Democrat mismanagement has finally reached the tipping point and YOU ARE GONERS!!!

    Enjoy your homeless residents!!!

  3. What a-lot of people don’t understand about this: in 1993 there was a “mass shooting” called 101 California. Nothing about it was natural. In 2017, I started my own re-investigation of the “shooting.” I found in Board of Supervisors files a document co-signed by Kevin Shelley and William Maher that “agreed to a plan to re-instate 91 officers who had been laid off.” This was theoretically due to something called ERAF2, but the document was signed on 6/14/93 – the night before a special election that I can prove was rigged with the help of the SFPD. It didn’t make any sense for San Francisco to pass an educational sales tax, and I finally worked out how the City was stealing from the School District to pay for the police dept. As part of rigging the election, Supervisor Annamarie Conroy managed in conjunction with Prop 172 to pass a charter amendment mandating 1971 officers be on payroll – this had the impact of reinstating the laid-off officers. Also, the mayor at the time, Frank Jordan, was a former police chief. So if you look at 101 California really carefully – Stephen Sposato sat next to Clinton during the signing of the 1994 Crime Bill, which helped fund the dept. It has been overstaffed forever because of this – and part of the reason why is the intelligence agencies in the 1980’s were running crack cocaine into the Army Street Projects via the Branner Family who are closely tied to Feinstein. The artificial crime epidemic that ensued lead to overstaffing of the department. When they finally started to reign things in, suddenly you have 101 California. I found the gunman alive. He works in Toronto for the Italian Trade commission and is likely NATO intelligence.

    Anyway, FINALLY somebody noticed the deleterious impact of the 1993 fraud and charter provision on the city’s budget priorities – it was supervisor Mar, actually. Another thing about San Francisco crime – it’s totally fabricated by the police department with crony developers. The SFPD actually breaks into car windows before every election. Often, they shuffle homeless people around the street in order to get a building declared “blighted” for redevelopment – I saw this involving Nuns with Little Sisters of the Poor on 6th Street. They littered needle exchange syringes in front of a building on Clara St. – this was literally KamalJoe’s block. Following the nuns were redevelopment cronies who took pictures of the “blight.” Well, once you redevelop the property, the developers make donations to the POA. It’s so unbelievably corrupt.

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