Cost-saving effort trims police force

Nearly 90 officers filing papers and answering phones in The City’s police stations could be replaced by civilians in a cost-saving measure originally approved by voters in 2004.

Under The City’s charter, the San Francisco Police Department must be staffed with at least 1,971 sworn officers, but Proposition C allows the department to identify jobs that can be performed by civilians, such as clerical or information-technology tasks, according to Deputy Controller Monique Zmuda.

The department has identified 116 such jobs that could be “civilianized,” Zmuda said. So far, roughly 30 of those positions have been converted, Mayor Gavin Newsom said earlier this month.

“This process feels very incremental — I’m not sure what lever is on our side to accelerate this process,” Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi during Monday’s meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee said.

The conversion would reduce the Police Department’s minimum required level of sworn officers to 1,855, Zmuda said, and the move could save San Francisco “millions of dollars.” The Controller’s Office has yet to determine precisely how much. In 2007-08, a Police Department typist made between $1,491 and $1,985 every two weeks, compared with $2,919 to $3,682 for a police officer’s salary.

The SFPD is currently more than fully staffed with a retinue of 1,984 sworn officers, and has more moving their way through police academies, Controller Ben Rosenfield said.

“Let’s go ahead and seek Prop. C certification [of civilian officers],” Supervisor Jake McGoldrick said. “The Police Department is well populated and there are other city departments that will need some [financial] help.”

Police Chief Heather Fong has not yet certified the 86 additional positions that could be civilianized, but the conversion is included in this year’s Police Department budget, as well as recommendations from Budget Analyst Harvey Rose’s office, Zmuda said.

Reducing the number of sworn officers at a time when homicide rates are rising isn’t a worry, said Mirkarimi, who represents the Western Addition, a neighborhood struggling with violent crime.

“It’s not about size, it’s about performance and about using our resources effectively,” Mirkarimi said.

bwinegarner@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsLocal

Just Posted

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, pictured in July at Oracle Park, says team members simultaneously can be “measured and calm” and “looking to push the accelerator.” (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
How Gabe Kapler sets the tone for Giants’ success with strategy, mindset

‘There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the hands-down manager of the year’

Artist Agnieszka Pilat, pictured with Spot the Robot Dog from Boston Robotics, has a gallery show opening at Modernism. (Courtesy Agnieszka Pilat)
Screenshots of VCs, Kanye and tech parties by the Bay

In this week’s roundup, Ben Horowitz’s surprising hip-hop knowledge and the chic tech crowd at Shack15

If he secured a full term in the Senate, Newsom would become the most powerful Californian Democrat since Phil Burton at the height of his career, or maybe ever. <ins>(Kevin Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Firefighters extinguish burning material near Lake Tahoe on Sept. 3 in the wake of the Caldor Fire; environmental scientists say the huge fire is bringing to light deficiencies in forest management. <ins>(Max Whittaker/New York Times)</ins>
Cal Fire, timber industry must face an inconvenient truth

We are logging further into the wildfire and climate crisis

Changing zoning in San Francisco neighborhoods where single family homes prevail is crucial in the effort to achieve equity. (Shutterstock)
To make SF livable, single-family zoning must be changed

Let’s move to create affordable housing for working class families

Most Read