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9 Bay Area law enforcement agencies, CHP to send more than 1,000 cops to San Francisco for APEC

Police officers line street at Pride parade
San Francisco Police Department officers work at the Pride Parade on June 25. | Source: Isaac Ceja/The Standard

Officers from Belmont, Fairfield and Foster City don’t often drive the streets of San Francisco. But when the U.S. president and other world leaders come to town next week, even college police from San Jose will chip in to aid the city’s police force.

In all, nine Bay Area law enforcement agencies and the California Highway Patrol are sending officers to the city to help San Francisco police and federal law enforcement authorities provide security for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said Wednesday. 

The bulk of local outside help will come from the CHP, which is sending more than 1,000 officers, while Bay Area agencies can spare about 50 officers collectively for the cause, who will mostly help with dignitary escorts. 

“These are small departments, but they did send what they could,” Scott said during a Police Commission hearing. “We are not reimbursing them for their services.” That is also the case for the CHP. 

However, preliminary numbers given to The Standard indicate the city could spend anywhere from $600,000 to $800,000 for hotel rooms, among other things, the Controller’s Office said. Mayor London Breed’s office later retracted that number, saying the city still needed to calculate the cost of paying for security. 

San Francisco Police Department Police Chief Bill Scott, wearing a police uniform looks into the distance with civilians standing behind him. Scott joined Mayor London Breed, elected officials, Tenderloin residents, and community partners to celebrate the reopening of the U.N Plaza which included a skateboard park.
San Francisco Police Department Police Chief Bill Scott joins Mayor London Breed, elected officials, Tenderloin residents and community partners to celebrate the reopening of the U.N. Plaza on Wednesday. | Source: Justin Katigbak/The Standard

The outside officers will come from Brisbane, Belmont, Daly City, Foster City, Menlo Park, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Fairfield, San Jose State University and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department, according to Scott.

SFPD is finalizing memorandums of understanding with all those agencies to lay out their tasks for APEC, Scott said Wednesday, adding that those agencies will be operating under their own rules of conduct, not San Francisco’s. 

The department declined to provide The Standard with any of those agreements, saying law enforcement security plans are confidential.

The CHP will have a larger role than the local agencies, patrolling the Golden Gate and Bay bridges, staffing APEC venues and assisting in the case of large civil disobedience, Scott said, who added that SFPD has tasked 600 of the department’s officers for APEC-specific security. 

Scott said a plan is in place in case an unexpected event occurs requiring additional law enforcement aid. 

“If we have to trigger mutual aid, we will do so,” he said about the potential for the city to call in backup from other local departments.

READ MORE: APEC San Francisco: Everything To Know About Security, Traffic and Transit in 10 Maps

In addition to local and state police aid, federal agents will be in San Francisco in “large numbers,” though the chief gave no specific figure when he addressed the issue at an earlier police commission meeting. 

“It’s going to be a very heavily deployed event,” Scott said Nov.1.

The chief said the summit, which is expected to bring President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping together in San Francisco, calls for the highest levels of security because dignitaries from up to 21 economies are attending. The event has been designated as a National Security Special Event.

Scott noted that the U.S. Secret Service is taking the lead on organizing the security for APEC, particularly when it comes to protecting dignitaries. But he said that the SFPD will be in charge of coordinating the “day-to-day” operations on the ground, such as the response to any protests.

Police vehicles block a street with workers in orange vests in the background on a city street.
Members of Local 16 Union help install 8-foot-tall metal barricades on Fourth Street at Mission Street near Moscone West in San Francisco on Thursday. | Source: RJ Mickelson/The Standard

“We’re all taking direction from the U.S. Secret Service on really the bigger security plan, because it’s a national security event,” Scott said. “But the local tactics will be us.”

Federal authorities have previously estimated that the event would require between 2,000 and 5,000 officers to staff. The San Francisco Police Department currently has some 1,500 officers among its ranks, and Scott said he expects all to be on duty unless they are sick or otherwise cannot work.

Scott said the city needs as many SFPD officers on duty as possible in case something unexpected happens. He said the department needs to be prepared to respond with a large police presence to a “critical incident,” for instance, without drawing from the staffing designated for the APEC summit.

“We need to be prepared for that,” he said, “because the city has to keep running.”

What exactly is APEC, and why is San Francisco hosting part of it this year? KQED journalist and APEC Host Committee Press Ambassador Priya David Clemens explains. | Video by Jesse Rogala

Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at

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