Amid concerns over San Francisco’s high crime and homicide rate, a contract withthe Police Department granting a 24 percent pay raise during a four-year period was approved Tuesday.
The contract approval, in a 10-1 vote by the Board of Supervisors, came as the Mayor’s Office announced a plan to combat summer violence.
Mayor Gavin Newsom signed on Monday an executive directive that calls on the Police Department to “enhance all available law enforcement resources to summer ‘hotspots,’” which includes locations in the Bayview, Mission, Tenderloin and Western Addition neighborhoods. The directive also establishes the so-called Summer Street Violence Prevention Council, to work with communities affected by violence.
Newsom’s directive said that while The City is engaged in developing a long-term plan to prevent violence, “increased action is needed immediately to stem recent gun violence.”
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, whose District 5 has been plagued with gun violence, said he welcomed the directive, “but let us not kid ourselves.”
“Today is June 26,” Mirkarimi said. “It has already been a bloody summer. Why do we have to go through three summers of this? I expect more from The City, such as coming up with a plan many months in advance of summer,” he said.
Mirkarimi was referring to recent years of record-breaking homicide rates — with The City tallying 85 homicides in 2006; 96 in 2005; and 88 in 2004. In the summers of 2004 and 2006, more than 20 homicides were registered.
Last week, Mirkarimi successfully made a motion to postpone the board’s vote on the police contract so the board’s Public Safety Committee, which he chairs, could have a chance to discuss it. The postponement was criticized by the San Francisco Police Officers’ Association, which accused board members of playing politics with the contract. The Mayor’s Office and the POA said the pay raise, which would result in a total of $63 million in salary increases during the four-year period, is needed to stay competitive with area police departments such as Oakland and San Jose. They say the department is operating more than 200 officers below voter-mandated levels.
“Time and time again what we hear from recruits is, ‘I don’t want to become a cop in that crazy town.’ So we better pay them right to come here and to deal with the political climate that we must deal with on a daily basis,” POA president Gary Delagnes said during Tuesday’s committee meeting.
Supervisor Chris Daly was the only naysayer when the Board of Supervisors voted on the contract later that day. Daly said he opposed the contract because it gives to much money to police officers “at the expense of preventative programs. I think that this is not the right message and not the right direction for The City,” Daly said.