San Francisco, CA – Veteran San Francisco police officers have been leaving the department in record numbers, with many opting to take jobs in other areas.
According to San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) records, 23 officers resigned from the force between January and June, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“This is just the beginning,” San Francisco Police Officers Association (SFPOA) President Tony Montoya told the paper. “Dozens are actively in the hiring process with other agencies.”
Only 18 officers resigned in all of 2018, while 26 resigned in 2019.
At this rate, the SFPD will lose almost four times as many officers as it did in 2018, and nearly twice as many as it did last year, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Nineteen of the officers who have left SFPD this year went to work for other law enforcement agencies, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Montoya said that many officers have accepted positions within the state of California, but that others have gone to work in Arizona, Texas, or Idaho.
Officers cited a myriad of reasons for their departures during exit interviews, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Many said they were frustrated with criminal justice reform that dropped a slew of felony-level offenses down to misdemeanors, as well as sky-high tax rates, a high cost of living, long commute times, and a general lack of support from the community and government leaders.
“The members are upset that the social experiment being conducted in San Francisco is failing, and they would rather work someplace that values them,” Montoya told the San Francisco Chronicle.
SFPD Chief Bill Scott said that he believes the “uptick” in resignations is mostly due to lengthy commutes.
“It’s a tough job, and for many officers it’s also a long commute to and from work,” Chief Scott told the paper. “If there are opportunities closer to home, people are going to take them.”
A former SFPD officer told the San Francisco Chronicle that approximately 20 percent of his paycheck went to taxes.
He is now working as a law enforcement officer in Texas.
“Here I got a bigger house, a more affordable lifestyle and a commute that went from two hours each was to 15 minutes,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle.
The community he now serves has also been far more supportive, he said.
“It’s also nice working at a place where everyone isn’t mad at you,” he explained. “In San Francisco, everyone was mad. The homeowners would get mad because you didn’t move the homeless who were sleeping in front of their house. Then, when you tried to help the homeless, someone would start yelling about police brutality.”
In July, San Francisco Mayor London Breed unveiled her plan to defund SFPD and the sheriff’s department by $120 million in order to divert funding to the “black community,” KGO reported.
“With this budget, we are listening to the community and prioritizing investments in the African American community around housing, mental health and wellness, workforce development, economic justice, education, advocacy and accountability,” Breed said at the time.
The city said it also wants to focus on stripping police of so-called military-grade equipment, increasing police accountability, and bringing in mental health providers to work with citizens in crisis instead of police, according to KGO.
“I want black boys growing up today to thrive because we chose to change how this city and how this country treats our young, black men – not as a statistic or an inevitable tragedy – but as an important part of our city’s future,” Breed declared.
The mayor has also asked fire and police unions not to push for raises for the next two years in order to save the city another $270 million.