In a move that’s likely to draw opposition from detractors of heavy law enforcement spending, Mayor London Breed wants to boost San Francisco’s police budget by $25 million to hire and retain more officers.
Breed aims to increase the San Francisco Police Department’s budget next fiscal year from a previously adopted $683 million to $708 million, according to a citywide budget proposal the mayor unveiled Wednesday.
Her proposal also represents a $51 million increase over the SFPD’s current $657 million budget.
The mayor’s spending pitch includes money for four academy classes to train as many as 100 recruits in the coming fiscal year, as well as $10.5 million in retention bonuses to prevent veteran officers from leaving the force.
Her proposal comes as San Francisco continues to bleed officers.
In April, an analysis by the SFPD found that the department was short by nearly 500 officers based on the number of calls for service. The review showed that the department should have 2,182 officers, but only had 1,723.
Police attributed the relative shortage to a wave of veteran officers hired in the 1990s reaching retirement, a nationwide lack of law enforcement applicants and an exodus from SFPD to other agencies.
The mayor’s plan marks a departure from her pledge to redirect $120 million from law enforcement to the Black community just two years ago in response to calls to “defund the police.” At the time, Breed was reacting to national outrage over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.
But the public’s attention appears to have shifted from police reform to public safety in the years since, with widely shared videos of retail thefts and attacks on Asian victims stoking fear about crime in the city.
Now Breed is calling for more police funding.
She wants to address the shortage of police officers by funding eight academy classes in the next two fiscal years to train as many as 220 more officers. The class sizes would be smaller than usual because the department has struggled to fill seats. The proposal calls for funding four classes of 25 recruits in the first fiscal year and four classes of 30 recruits the following year.
Breed also proposes increasing entry-level salaries to make the department more competitive with other agencies, according to the Mayor’s Office. It’s unclear how much those raises will cost.
To prevent officers from leaving the force, Breed proposes 2% bonuses when officers reach years five and 15 with the department. Officers are also expected to receive a 3% raise July 1 under the current police contract.Michael Barba can be reached at [email protected].