SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to approve a contract with the San Francisco Police Officers Association union to address severe police staffing shortages.

“We are currently short staffed by 562 officers, or approximately 25% short of the 2,182 officers required to meet our workload demands,” Police Chief Bill Scott said.

Supervisors approved the contract in a 10-1 vote.

Supervisor Catherine Stefani said, “The fact we are over 500 officers short is having negative consequences citywide and we must do everything possible to close that gap.”

“We will never have enough officers walking neighborhoods and patrolling streets until people are willing to be police officers in San Francisco,” said Supervisor Joel Engardio.   

The agreement includes significant retention incentives. It will also help recruit new officers by making San Francisco the highest paid entry-level salary for larger cities in the Bay Area.

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said, “These new hiring and retention incentives send a clear message: We want more police officers serving San Francisco.”  

Chief Scott said, “This new contract is a clear indication that our City leaders are committed long-term to public safety, and to supporting the appropriate number of San Francisco police officers we need to respond to calls for service so we can better address violent and property crimes, traffic concerns, and open-air drug dealing impacting our communities.”

Supervisor Matt Dorsey said many SFPD officers are reaching retirement age, and far fewer young people are pursuing careers in law enforcement and public safety.

Mayor London Breed said the contract is a key step in a long term strategy to retain and recruit police officers. “People want our officers to focus on the open-air drug dealing, retail theft, home burglaries, and violence impacting our neighborhoods, but we need more police to deliver.”

What the new police contract will deliver, according to the Mayor’s Office:

  • Makes San Francisco the highest entry-level salary of any larger competing jurisdiction/city in the Bay Area by setting a 10.75% salary increase over the next three years: 4.75% in year one, 3% in year two, and 3% in year three.    
  • Establishes retention incentives to stop the outflow of experienced officers by adding 3% increases for officers at five, seven, and eight years of service.  
  • Attracts recruits from other jurisdictions by establishing that police officers or deputy sheriffs hired from agencies outside of San Francisco will advance to the next salary step after one year, instead of two.
  • Extends a pilot program to provide emergency childcare reimbursement when they are held for mandatory overtime, called back to work, or held over schedule. 

While cities across America continue to grapple with police staffing shortages, San Francisco has already begun implementing interim solutions to deal with shortages locally, such as the recent approval of a $25 million budget supplemental to fund overtime for officers.

Generally, the city bargains with the Police Officers Association every 2-3 years. In 2020, raises were deferred due to the COVID pandemic, pushing contract extensions an additional two years to 2023.