If, as Woody Allen said, showing up is 80 percent of life, the San Francisco Police Department is increasingly falling into the troublesome 20 percent. When you’re a cop answering a high-priority call, this is, like Woody Allen’s more recent films, nothing to laugh at.

Jarringly, police response times have grown markedly slower over the past four years, even though the cops are now fielding nearly 40 percent fewer calls.

In recent years, the average amount of time it takes an officer to show up to a critical situation has, on average, grown dramatically worse: From 6 minutes and 25 seconds at the start of 2016, to 8 minutes and 47 seconds by the end of 2022. Second- and third-tier calls have slowed too: From 17 and 53 minutes, respectively, in 2016, to 32 and 73 minutes last year.

The police department has consistently missed its goals for response times on all manner of calls, and is missing them by more every year. And that was the case even before money and personnel issues grew dire.

“The ability to deliver uniform services is the main job of a police department,” explains a former longtime SFPD higher-up. “People have a reasonable expectation that someone will be there relatively rapidly. These response times for A-priority calls are a crisis.”

They are. And the cornucopia of tales of cops taking days to show up to burglary calls if they deign to show up at all don’t help.

One proffered excuse why these response times have slowed to a molasses-in-January pace could be because the police department is rapidly losing officers. By the SFPD’s own reckoning, its tally of “full-duty” officers dropped from 1,872 in 2017 to just 1,514 at present.

Make no mistake: Staffing is a serious problem. But the department’s own data reveals it’s not the only problem. There is a quantity issue. But there’s a quality issue, too. And that’s much harder to fix.

Five police officers marching down the road.
Five San Francisco police officers marching down the street, May, 2019. Photo from Shutterstock.

Mission Local’s Will Jarrett unearthed troves of data from local and state sources. The numbers are complicated and troubling and belie any easy solutions — via cheap populism or expensive budget supplementals.

The number of San Francisco’s full-duty sworn officers is at a decades-long low – 1,537 as of 2022, and 1,514 as of this week. A couple hundred additional officers on light duties or on leave are not included in these figures, but nonetheless, the department is facing a problem.

So, what is the impact? What has been the relationship between police staffing and crime outcomes? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Data from the San Francisco Police Department.

San Francisco arrest rates are low; the lowest in California by a long shot. And, over the past couple of years, as the pandemic hit, the arrest rate dropped as the number of available officers decreased.

Data from the District Attorney’s office.

But the patterns here aren’t intuitive. Over the past decade, the arrest rate has not gone hand-in-hand with officer numbers. Case in point: The department’s arrest rate dropped to a low point in 2017, right when its head count was at a recent high.

Data from the District Attorney’s office.

The rate at which violent crimes are solved has dropped along with staffing since 2019. But, in prior years, it was erratic, and not easily correlated with headcount.

Data from the California Department of Justice. Figures for 2022 were estimated using the San Francisco Police Department clearance rates dashboard.

The rate at which property crimes are solved, which is low across the board, was at a recent high in 2014, when staffing was in a trough.

The general pattern over the past 10 years is a steady, gradual decline in property crime clearance rates, irrespective of police numbers.

Data from the California Department of Justice. Figures for 2022 were estimated using the San Francisco Police Department clearance rates dashboard.

Reports of violent crime are creeping up at present, but had dropped steadily since 2013 (and precipitously during the pandemic). For several years, officer numbers and reported violent crimes fell in tandem.

Data from the San Francisco Police Department.

Reported property crimes have been high in San Francisco for the past decade, the pandemic lull notwithstanding, and were at their peak in 2017, when officer numbers were highest.

Data from the San Francisco Police Department.

Also worthy of note: According to state staffing data, the decrease in full-duty sworn officers has coincided with an increase in civilian staff. From 2011 to 2021, civilian staff rose 65 percent, from 440 to 728.

The hope for civilianizing the police department was that it would free up sworn officers from administrative jobs, and allow the police to spend more of their time combating crime.

Data from the California Department of Justice. Data unavailable for 2022.

Of course, there may well be an event horizon below which low officer numbers have a strong negative impact on crime metrics. San Francisco may be headed that way. But, looking over the last decade, it is tough to argue that more officers unambiguously led to better outcomes.

The dire shortage of cops on the street was one of the recurring themes last week when the mayor and many of her political allies appeared at a Tenderloin press conference and accused members of the Board of Supervisors of standing in the way of public safety. Their offense: simply asking remedial questions regarding the mayor’s proposed $27.6 million police overtime budget supplemental. These are questions along the lines of, What are you going to do with the money? and What did you do with all the money we gave you before?

Since mid-2020, the police department’s declining head count and its slowing response times have shown as mirror images on a graph — a near-perfect correlation. But beware simple solutions to complex problems: Over a longer period of time, response times were creeping up as the tally of sworn officers fluctuated, or even grew.

None of this is to say that city leaders can simply conclude that the SFPD was failing with adequate staffing and can fail with inadequate staffing. Clearly, it’s in the city’s best interests for the police department to succeed. But that will take far, far more than simply adding money and bodies.

Several police officers on motorcycles at the side of the road.
SFPD motorcycle officers. Photo from Shutterstock, September, 2020.

San Francisco is a special place, but it’s not sui generis. The profession of American law enforcement is in a node right now, and the paltry recruiting numbers in this and other cities show it.

Recruitment and retention in this department look like charts of the 1929 stock market crash: In 2013, the list of candidates who’d taken the SFPD entry exam was 68 pages long with dozens of names on each page. By February of this year, the list was six pages long.

Veteran cops bristled at the notion that San Francisco is uniquely hostile to police, and this is what’s driving away recruits. Rather, they tell me they had a clear understanding of what was expected of them as cops when they joined up in San Francisco years ago. But that’s no longer the case.

“Forty years ago, when I became a cop, the job had a better rep, cops had more autonomy and less accountability,” sums up one retired SFPD veteran. “That’s not a good thing, but there was an attraction there. When I was a rookie cop, we knew we could get away with whatever we wanted. And we did.”

Well, you can’t do that anymore. The role of modern police is ambiguous and ever-changing and ill-defined even for those who’ve spent a lifetime in the profession — so what would you tell a potential 22-year-old recruit?

“The problem with San Francisco,” sums up a veteran active cop, “is that the city tells us what they don’t want, but we do not have a concrete answer on what is our job?”

When this officer joined up, a decade and change ago, “We were told explicitly to aggressively pursue crime. You were expected to make an arrest on a firearm once a week, write a citation per shift, pull over everybody. You were supposed to go and lock people up. That is how it was measured.”

The city and its police department have made it clear that this is now what it doesn’t want its officers to do. Cops are now told by their sergeants to “handle your sectors and handle your calls. But don’t put yourselves out there anymore.”

“We’re being told to pursue crime, but not aggressively. It’s a weird limbo we’re in, where the city wants us to handle crime, but they don’t know what that looks like yet,” the cop continues. “We don’t, either.”

So far, it looks reactive: In 2019, 49 percent of SFPD calls were self-initiated. By 2022, only 35 percent were. The raw tally of self-initiated calls dropped by 56 percent, from 339,000 to 150,000.

When asked if cops now approach their job like firefighters — staying in their stations and in their vehicles and waiting for a call — the veteran officer laughed: “100 percent.”

Police cars at 21st and Mission Streets
SFPD officers on the scene at Mission and 21st following a shooting incident on Aug. 5, 2022. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan.

And it’s not as if nobody saw this coming. Take this passage from an article about the SFPD in San Francisco Magazine:

Insiders understand the nature of the paralysis gripping the department and, by extension, the city itself. Imagine a scenario where poor morale and a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t attitude among cops leads to a passive kind of policing — “depolicing,” to use the wonky term — where many crimes that could be stopped are allowed to happen. That is the road many believe San Francisco is on, with no clear plan for changing course.

This article noted that even the ostensibly good news of plummeting grievances filed against officers was likely due to decreased interaction with the public, rather than culture change.

Sounds relevant today, but this story ran in 2007. A lot has happened since then, but this was foreseeable. And foreseen.

That’s why, as much as the department needs more officers and new officers, it needs so much more.

“To say police staffing is the reason you don’t see a cop anymore or response times are so slow? That is not entirely true,” sums up a former department higher-up.

“You have an entire generation of cops who are disengaged. They have not been trained properly, or are accustomed to doing as little as possible.”

Adds a thirtysomething cop: “Some of the older cops are jaded for practical reasons, and the younger ones are jaded because they’re surrounded by older guys who are jaded. I don’t know how to fix that.”

Nobody does. If you want an unconventional marker of how jaded and checked out our cops have grown, take a look at how generously they gave to San Francisco’s “Heart of the City” city employee charity drive. In 2018, 957 individual officers, some 38 percent of the department, gave $246,000.

Last year, 62 officers, 2.5 percent of the department, donated $39,000. Overall giving was down across the board, but the SFPD’s plunge was dramatic.

At some point, the leadership of this city and its police department brass need plans to address the SFPD’s deep-seated problems. Plans more detailed than tossing a bunch of money into an overtime kitty after legions of cops were stationed outside the Macy’s at Union Square by mayoral edict.

“Hey, Joe,” one veteran cop asks me, “if Mission Local suffered a 50-percent reduction in subscribers, wouldn’t you think that people would want to talk to you? But that’s not what’s going on here.”

No, it’s not. The department may yet get its budget supplemental. And it may yet one day hire or repurpose enough officers. And then it will be able to fix the “showing up” problem.

What’s next? Fixing everything else.

Additional reporting by Eleni Balakrishnan

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Managing Editor/Columnist. Joe was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left.

“Your humble narrator” was a writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015, and a senior editor at San Francisco Magazine from 2015 to 2017. You may also have read his work in the Guardian (U.S. and U.K.); San Francisco Public Press; San Francisco Chronicle; San Francisco Examiner; Dallas Morning News; and elsewhere.

He resides in the Excelsior with his wife and three (!) kids, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

The Northern California branch of the Society of Professional Journalists named Eskenazi the 2019 Journalist of the Year.

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DATA REPORTER. Will was born in the UK and studied English at Oxford University. After a few years in publishing, he absconded to the USA where he studied data journalism in New York. Will has strong views on healthcare, the environment, and the Oxford comma.

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  1. What do all you people who thought #DEFUND THE POLICE DEPT. and BLM think was going to happen????? Why would a SFPD officer want to put their lives on the line for any of you? And if they do then maybe have to go to prison for saving your life? Shame on all of you.

  2. Love to hear H.Brown is still spewing his nonsense. One day he called me satan at a BOS meeting. i can cut through all the bullshit for you. The answer is that SF has created such an anti police atmosphere that no one in their right mind would choose this nut town if they had law enforcement aspirations. Remember, this City will not even give their officers “tasers”,
    A common law enforcement tool that over 99% of law enforcement utilize.
    Can anybody on this chat tell me what incentive a person could cite to entice them to become a police officer in San Francisco,
    .The reality is nobody is Interested in becoming a cop in SF, and nothing is going to change that until SF changes their anti police agenda from the BOS to the police commission

  3. You never have figured it out Joe. The media in SF is anti law enforcement
    Cops go work everday and get ripped by police Commissioners andsupervisors , as well as every single left wing loon who don’t even want police. Ask yourself a question, Joe, if you wanted to be a police officer would you select SF. Not anymore.

  4. Excellent collection of data, charted clearly, helped me see your point. The anecdotes make me think SFPD desperately needs better leadership as much as officers. Poor leadership elsewhere in the city is handicapping them too – what is expected of them should be clear.

  5. Change is hard. I personally like the new graphics and the lively way the data is presented. Thanks Mission Local, Messieurs Eskenazi and Jarrett.

  6. Joe, Will, this looks like a great article, but I stopped reading it after hitting the neverending graph.

    Please Will, I implore you, resist the trend to have these neverending always scrolling crappy interactives.

    They may look great on a resume, they may look great on your bosses’ iPad, but they are a horror for people trying to read Joe’s article.

    Kudos to you, you have mastered D3!

    Now give it a rest.

    Look I understand, all the big kids at the NYTimes are doing it.

    Think Different!

    1. Jay — 

      You can offer feedback without being condescending. It really is possible.


      1. I appreciate your confidence in me and I will try to live to that, promise!

        If I am being condescending, please understand it is the last three years of having to deal with ever more amounts of web developers “interactive graphics porn” which really does make it almost impossible to read on a desktop with a mouse if you have arthritis or other mobility issues.

    2. Dug it.
      Best one so far.
      svg/css skills – nice.
      A+ for organizational effort (glanced at source).
      Desktop – big screen – smooth reading/processing.
      Other media? – your results may vary – I suppose.
      May wish to increase transparency or reduce opacity in the articleInner area to see more of the graph behind. Maybe not if it becomes too distracting.
      Keep pushing the creativity.

  7. This article is largely based on data and statistics from SFPD, US Justice Department and the DA’s office. Yes. Data. As Mr.T (or was it Abraham Lincoln? ) once said: “The data don’t lie.” And so it boggles the mind that some commenters here choose to ignore the data and stats in order to employ straw man theories and opinions, or even worse, accuse the authors of being anti cop. Check the data.

    1. Greeny,

      It was Joe O’Donoghue who once commented to me as we watched a budget meeting:

      “Figures don’t lie but liars can figure.”

      Go Niners !


  8. It’s as if the Mission Local is too stupid to understand the simplest of things.
    1). Last year San Franciscans voted to abolish , the 1972 mandated, full duty, police officers that was put in place in 1996 and was designed to stop exactly what is happening now. This amendment was supported by most of the media and the BOS .
    2. Newspapers like yours constantly criticize the police for pulling over more African Americans the whites proportionately. So the cops said OK, we won’t stop anybody anymore. It’s called non- policing.
    Do you not understand when you are badgered, and harassed you will simply shit down. You brought this on yourself San Francisco. You showed your police department no respect and they are now returning the favor.
    3. Nobody wants to be a police officer in San Francisco anymore.
    Would you? Under constant attack by the media ( you guys are on top of the list). Nobody what they do, candidates are simply going to more police friendly cities that don’t bash the work they do every day.
    They have shot for 55 recruits in the past two academies, and have come up with a total of 21. One. a 58 year old man. If you think that what DA Boudin attempted to do to Chris Samoyan went unnoticed by the rank an file you are sadly mistaken. You guys just don’t get it.
    A police officer can do as much or as little as they want. SF has friends them to the latter.

    1. Why are we still paying these people good money and retirement packages if they’re not working?

    2. Gary,

      You keep dodging our debate.

      Five or ten bucks a head at the Womens Building and you and the women split it.

      As for your recruiting, a friend of mine’s kid applied a few years ago.

      Used me as a reference.


      Went on to become a member of Navy’s JAG Corps.

      Guess you were looking for someone who graduated from Riordan.

      I understand that under the DROP program you brought here from LA that you made a total of just under $350,000 a year for your last 3 years of service.

      That true ?

      Go Niners !!


    3. To Gary Delagnes: thank you for this response! 💯! I also agree that Mission Local bashes SFPD all the time. That to me is unfair & biased reporting. If they only truly knew what a cops job entails – maybe then they could feel or show a bit of compassion as a reporter & human being. This could go along way for morale boosting.

  9. Just some “user experience” input: Whether it’s here or in the New York Times, complex graphical presentation does not draw me in, it drives me away. A simple graph between grafs is better.

    1. I disagree. The Will “Golden Boy” Jarrett graphs have been easy to read and a great addition. (though I do appreciate you ditching the vertical layout, Will, which had me spinning my phone in circles)

    2. Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it. Part of me definitely leans towards these scrolly/complex visuals because I personally like them, which is not a good reason to use them!

      In this instance, I think it was justified because we were measuring several metrics against one that didn’t change – it seemed to me that the scrolling allowed that comparison efficiently + neatly. But it is definitely a matter of personal taste and it is useful for future stories to know that some are turned off by them.

    3. Weird, I found the graphical presentation of the data to be quite easily-digestible; it was simple yet effective. I would not use the word “complex” to describe any of the visuals.

      Makes sense that people have different ways of interpreting visual data. It would be a shame to miss out on the graphs though, for no reason other than that certain individuals among us feel “driven away” by them.

  10. the idea that the sfpd would increase foot patrols to engage the community and build confidence has long been pushed by those looking for solutions.
    my personal experience in the tl and soma has always been indifference and hostility. this has been true whether it was to simply greet them or ask about what is happening when i see woopie lights flashing.
    i don’t see ‘community’ in their attitude at all.

    go home! … if you have one.

  11. Campers,

    Elect our Police Chief.

    It all starts there.

    Move to Open Source Voting Algorithms.

    It all starts there.

    Move the tents and baggage of the homeless to Treasure Island.

    It all starts there.

    Citizens, your vote can disappear on Dominion’s Proprietary counts.

    Worst thing about cops isn’t that they’re a day late.

    It’s what they do when they get there which is little as they can.

    City is legally required to use Treasure Island as refuge for homeless per contract Gavin signed when he took control of it.

    Am I the ‘one-eyed man’ in this town ?

    Go Niners !


  12. To follow up and give credit when and where it’s due, I must say that the majority of what I’ve read in the Mission Local to be biased against the S.F.P.D..
    Yet, this piece, in which you quote actual members and former members of the Department, and members with time and experience shows that when you have an open dialogue with both sides the truth begins to emerge.
    One thing that is clearly left unsaid is the how the S.F.P.D. is now completely null and devoid of Leadership, or Leaders, within the ranks. When the street level staff (Q-2’s & Q-50’s) are treated like that which settles upon the lowest level in a fish tank, in addition to the constant bombardment of negative and hostile treatment from the public, that your own Police Commission have expressed their collective contempt for the members of the Department publicly, that the majority of the members of the Department feel as if they are behind the proverbial 8-Ball.
    Why is it that the Law Enforcement community, especially the S.F.P.D., a Department in one of the most liberal cities in the world, are held to the highest of standards as well as ethically and morally. To the point that all other City departments are not held to anything close to the same level of standards.
    Let me come full circle. There are numerous members of the S.F.P.D., of the rank of Lieutenant on up to Deputy Chief, who have not only violently Department policy, but have broken the law, but because they have sworn fealty to the upper ranks all that they not are just accused of brushed aside, but those who admit to their egregious misconduct and knowingly they will not be held accountable. How can anyone in those circumstances respect these individuals let alone view them as Leaders.
    This subject is worthy of looking into. It is an epidemic within the Department and a disease of selfishness of which afflicts all of those who wear the Gold and Brass on their uniforms.

    1. These armed thugs wouldn’t be in such a bad situation if they didn’t try to cover up each other’s crimes at every possible turn. They are held to high standards because they cannot be trusted otherwise.

  13. “civilian staff rose 65 percent, from 440 to 728.”
    What do these people do?

    So the cops are pissed they cannot ‘do what they want and get away with it anymore’ Cry me a river. I have family who used to be Chicago cops, and they were racists and corrupt as hell! Those times are over. Get over it cops.

    If cops have no idea what is it they are supposed to do (GMAB) they do not deserve overtime to DO NOTHING. I think their protests are simple BS. We do not need cops to shoot unarmed men, we do not need cops to racially profile drivers. But hell yes, we do expect them to arrest suspects and investigate violent crime especially.

    Do they need to have someone hold their hands and walk them from their car or precinct to do their job? Or will they only do a good job if they are allowed to break the law themselves? They sit around all day collecting 6-figure salaries and think it is funny? I do not think it is funny and do not give them a pass on failing at their jobs big time.

    1. Kim,

      Cops keep numbers lower because no matter how short they are the Charter requires they have a full compliment slip their cards in those slots every shift.

      Lots of that work is Overtime which is so reliable over the decades that they can figure it into their mortgage payments.

      POA will insure that SFPD is ALWAYS several hundred short and then complain about it.

      While they cash those fat overtime checks.

      And, a couple of hundred of those clocking in never leave leave their offices as the department keeps double the LA percentage (sworn cops on desk jobs) …

      LA keeps 7-8% of their cops on desks.

      SF keeps 14% thus engaged.

      It gets worse.

      We had an organization called, ‘Patrol Specials’ and there were several hundred of them and they were formed during Gold rush era cause cops couldn’t be trusted.

      It’s taken over a hundred years but SFPD and their POA has Specials down to less than ten.

      And … Patrol Specials cost taxpayers nothing !

      Paid for by businesses.

      Now, thru Community Business Districts that work is given to Off-Duty cops who get double or triple what a Special would charge.

      To do the work that the Regular Force refuses to do.

      Like walk a Friggin’ beat !!!

      And, your vote for Reform can easily be changed to a vote against Reform by the Dominion Proprietary Algorithm.

      Let’s try something that seems simple but would be massive.

      Let’s change Dominion’s Sales Rep for a different rep.

      Go Niners !


    1. The police were never defunded. Their budget has grown as their headcount has dropped and their call volume has dropped more.

      Reasonable minds can differ on what to do next, but let’s establish the facts.


      1. Why don’t you go on a ride along in a busy district Joe and see what’s really going on. Your observations from afar are useless.

        1. Whyncha get out of the cruiser and do a foot patrol through our neighborhoods, just like the voters ordered?

  14. It’s mystifying to me how people in the Bay Area(especially S.F.) want policing alternatives, and in one way or another grant excessive “rights” to the drug addicts and mentally ill, then seem perplexed as to how things became filthy and lawless.

  15. Stick up a liquor store, jack a car, beat up your spouse, indeed commit any crime you want and you will be accorded the presumption of innocence which is the hallmark of the Anglo American system going back to Magna Carta. The one exception is if you are a police officer accused, fairly or not, of misconduct. Then you will be very much presumed guilty and especially in San Francisco the media coverage will pretty much entirely consist of articles which read like copies of a plaintiffs brief. Moreover even if you are cleared of a particular charge there will be enormous political pressure to find something, anything, in your work history for which to discipline you. Why on earth would anyone sane in such a job ever do anything proactive or show any initiative whatsoever? The only sane response would be to take the “It’s Chinatown Jake!” approach of doing as little as possible.

    1. This is nonsense. How many cops have been charged murdering someone who is unarmed, even shooting them in the back as they fled? Did you get accused of killing an unarmed person?

      1. Kim your uninformed opinion, all accusatory, and insalubrious comments are right on par for someone who is not only grossly prejudiced but lost within your own personal ignorant and biased thinking. Have you ever stopped to take the time to speak with and spend time getting to know the human beings that you condemn so easily from your magnanimous predatory perch? I bet that your one of those people who backs BLM blindly, yet when asked how much time you’ve reached out to support and spend time with the Black community it all adds up to zero. You behave like the mindless automoton that falls into place out of selfish vanity, and a fleckless CPU. Your way of thinking is 200 years too late! Your kind have nearly exterminated my people (Native American Indians and laws requiring the castration of Mexican men in California) and you have not yet bothered to first look inward then reach outward. Just like those before you merely seek destructive behavior and action because it’s everything you are.
        What do you do for a living which places you so high on a pedestal. Share your story and information and let us judge you from afar without feeling we could ever do or say anything wrong or hurtful.
        Respond to that and we’ll see who you truly are.

        1. I think she’s referring to the officer who had been on the job for 4 days, then shot a fleeing suspect in the back from inside his patrol car and killed him. And Jenkins just dropped all charges.

          This behavior is why so many people distrust the police and politicians. And justifiably so.

  16. It seems like we need a generational change in what education and sense of mission a policeman must have. Do we have to wait for many in the “old guard” to retire and for the system to support:emotionally mature policemen who understand cultural differences, who have good people skills, who have a sense of responsibility and investment in/to the communities they serve, but who who also are physically fit and able to cope (but not overreact) in situations that require rapid reflexes, self defense, running etc. This implies at least a college education, and high intelligence, including emotional intelligence. I have certainly met some policemen like this……and of course we need systems in place to spare policeman the jobs that intensive case managers and others skilled in mental health issues can do better. And policeman need to have the training to meaningfully embrace team work when needed…….I am sure there are places and times now where this all comes together….how can it be the norm?

    1. Completely agree! A college degree does not ensure maturity but the hiring educational requirement for SFPD is a high school diploma. Recruiting needs to go to all local colleges and jc’s and not just the athletic departments, look at social sciences/liberal arts . Also keep recruiting military but also look at gyms, and martial art studios for those who are physically fit and pass the psyche testing. Need to broaden the recruiting process. Malaise and laziness are partly to blame for the current situation. Constant training is needed also to keep officers engaged into their jobs and community. Hire people who care

  17. “At some point, the leadership of this city and its police department brass need plans to address the SFPD’s deep-seated problems.” I believe this is what the “reform” effort between 2015 and 2019 was all about, right?, fixing the long standing deep seated problems of the SFPD. Remember? There were breathless hearings, award-winning media reports, research groups, blue ribbon panels, sit-ins, joint task forces, “coffee-with-cops”, community meetings, negotiations, and a matrix of over 270 steps that were to be taken, agreed to by the SFPD, and later announced to great fanfare that the great majority of those tasks had been completed. And this is the result. One can fault the SFPD for various incompetencies, but when it comes to bureaucratic obscurantism, nobody can top the agency. It’s what “the brass” does best.

  18. Look at the money. Seriously. Look at the percentage of the city budget that goes to the police. It goes up. It always goes up.

    Now, think about the “staffing shortages”. The police dept makes up a “here is what we need to do what we think needs to be done”, then comes out and says, “Look, we’re short 10000000 cops!”, but the reality is that this is a completely made up number – that they made up for political reasons. It’s a negotiating tactic.

    What we have is a department that is more heavily weaponized, less trained, and more costly. – not to mention with zero accountability. That cop who was on the job for FOUR DAYS, and shot a suspect in the back as he was running away – through his car window: Jenkins just dropped the charges against him. (Totally not a quid-pro-quo for the dept to support her appointment.)

    That’s where we’re at. Politics.

    And during the recall, I personally watched 2 SFPD officers sipping coffee as they watched a guy run out of a wallgreens with an armload of stuff. They just kept walking. They WANTED visible crime to increase for politics.

    And you ask them about it, and it’s like, “oh yeah, people complain all the time, but when they’re in trouble, they come calling us, don’t they? “.

    They don’t see that it’s like paying protection money to the mob.

    1. We do call, then they fail to show up. Anecdotal stories such as this are too many to not reflect actual laziness in the force.

      1. It’s hard to have more than anecdotal stories regarding actual behavior. And I’m not sure they’re any more lazy than anyone else, but what I’ve seen is there’s a real attitude of “them” and “us”. You criticize them and you become “them”. Even among the comments here, someone will declare “this is what happens when you defund the police!”, and another will state the fact that “their budget goes up every year”: that’s it. It turns to name calling and attacks. You dare to suggest that it’s not OK to shoot someone in the back and you’re a progressive snowflake commie who is the root of all that is evil in SF. It’s frustrating beyond belief

  19. This should be a golden opportunity for us to downsize the SFPD significantly and pour those resources into an unarmed public safety function that will do the social work that the cops don’t want to do and when they do, do poorly.

    1. Low recruitment is from the crappy way they are treated. Are there a few bad apples..yes. You are an example frankly of why they don’t want to be in SF. Who are YOU gonna call if you need help? Ghostbusters?

      1. Laura I agree with your comments. Mission Local & other news media are so biased against cops. SF cops are not lazy. They are hardworking individuals who are ‘damned if they do & damned if they don’t.

      2. The article demonstrates that there is no connection between police staffing levels and effective policing.

      3. We call for SFPD now and rarely do they respond in anything approaching real time. There are always excuses, always.

        My first boss was a Colonel in the Army Air Corps who flew missions over Italy. He taught me that the only response to failure was in the military “No excuse, SIR!”

        Why does our local do-nothing lazy-ass commuter paramilitary cohort get to excusify and blamethrow?

  20. I am white gay male and have seen both sides of policing because of my distinct qualities. In situations where I appeared like any straight white guy, (especially while driving a beefy 4X4 SUV) I felt I was always treated fairly. 30 years ago when Frank Jordan was elected mayor, cops South of Market actually felt comfortable to tell gay men there, that now that one of them (Jordan) was mayor, they were going to be cracking down on the “perverts”. I had tickets written against me for parking at the
    HWY280 and HWY92 gay pickup rest stop for no reason. After I filed a response, they “nicely” (they said) dropped the charges. So 30 years ago I felt they were biased against LGBT people, but I don’t think they are anymore. Things change.

  21. Ok, at least part of the story is San Francisco activists who dislike cops and are personally hostile to them 🤷.

    I have a gay pinoy friend in the military at Vacaville; he and his buddies never come to SF, because they assume people here would be hostile and taunt them.

    Is he wrong to feel that? Or have we San Franciscans gotten partisan and bitter, and even more self-righteous than before?

    I don’t see much of a welcome mat.

    1. Bix,

      I have my Navy unit patches sewn on an old Army field jacket and wear it everywhere.

      Never heard a negative comment and gotten lots of praise.

      Got an American flag draped across my windows.

      I love my country and hate my government.

      It’s possible.

      As to your friends in uniform.

      Bet none of their recruiters asked them where they went to high school.

      Go Niners !!


  22. SFPD has low recruitment because of their reputation for racism, murder, selectively chosen who they will stop or beat up for nefarious reasons. They continue to resist oversite as a result of this and feel they have a right to act without supervision from outside the department. They lack true professionalism.

    1. JK, it states that your comments should be kept civil before posting? Where did you gather your factual information from?
      Were your comments posted out of hate for human beings who have done, or are doing the job in the S.F.P.D. without checking any of the boxes you listed? If I were to say all of those who post with the letters JK are social miscreants and evil wrongdoers would it be wrong? If posted worse about the JK’s of the world be not only hurtful, but ignorant and prejudice?
      What motivates you people to post defamatory comments? In my experience it’s because you are projecting the shortfalls in your life to make yourself feel better, which is what racist people do to make themselves feel better.
      I don’t know you so I wouldn’t do something as desperate as posting ignorant comments about people I’ve never spoken to, or spent time with.
      JK, shame on you!