San Francisco, CA – San Francisco has voted to do away with minimum staffing requirements for the city’s police department.
Under the city charter, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) was mandated to maintain at least 1,971 sworn, full-duty law enforcement officers, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Proposition E, the brainchild of San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee, abolished the mandatory minimum staffing requirement.
The SFPD will now be required to submit a staffing report to the Police Commission once every two years, which will then be used to determine how many positions the department will have, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The San Francisco Police Officers Association (SFPOA) argued that the department has been chronically understaffed as of late and is already struggling to cover calls.
“Our response times to 911 calls are lagging because we don’t have enough people on patrol,” SFPOA Vice President Sergeant Tracy McCray recently told the San Francisco Chronicle.
But Yee said wiping out minimum police staffing levels is only the beginning.
“It would take the handcuffs off of our policy decisions for reform efforts,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Yee added that the measure will help the city to “join the growing number of cities dispatching teams of social workers and substance use counselors to respond to calls seeking their skills and service when appropriate,” Vox reported.
Voters also passed Proposition D, which will establish a seven-member San Francisco Sheriff’s Office (SFSO) Oversight Board.
The board will be tasked with making policy recommendations and reporting its findings to the Board of Supervisors and the sheriff, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Proposition D will also establish an inspector general position to investigate complaints against SFSO employees or contractors, as well as in-custody deaths.
The measure is expected to cost taxpayers $3 million per year, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Sheriff Paul Miyamoto said that the investigative aspect of Proposition D is “wasteful bureaucracy” that duplicates the system of independent investigations already overseen by the San Francisco Department of Police Accountability.
Sheriff Miyamoto said he had no problem with an oversight committee being established, but that duplicating investigations makes no sense.