SAN MATEO (KRON) – San Mateo County Sheriff Carlos G. Bolanos told the county’s board of supervisors Tuesday that staffing levels at his department are “the worst I have experienced in my entire 40-plus years in law enforcement.”

Carlos G. Bolanos, sheriff of San Mateo County (Photo courtesy of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office)

“Today, I am approximately 100 deputies short when we include vacancies, disability leave, and other types of leave,” Bolanos said. “This creates safety concerns for my personnel; it affects their morale when they are being mandated to work overtime.”

Bolanos told the board that the department is hemorrhaging two to three deputies for each hire.

“This is unsustainable,” Bolanos said. “It leaves me very concerned not only for the safety of my personnel but for public safety in general.”

Bolanos said deputies haven’t had a raise since January 2020.

Last month, the board approved a resolution to have a hiring bonus of $30,000 for promotions from correctional officer to deputy sheriff and lateral deputy sheriffs, and $15,000 for deputy sheriff trainees and correctional officers. The bonuses will be spread out over a period of three years.

Bolanos’ remarks come as Bay Area residents’ fears of crime increase. According to a Bay Area Council poll, 63% of Bay Area residents said the region was safe just three years ago. Now only 47% think so.

San Mateo County isn’t the only jurisdiction experiencing shortages. A 2020 report from an independent analyst found San Francisco is short about 400 officers.