Police security for private events could become more transparent, streamlined with new legislation

Every year an unknown number of San Francisco police officers earn about a total $10 million overtime working security at private street fairs, music festivals and the like.

Known as the 10B program, The City requires that any organization holding events of a certain size hire a certain number of off-duty police officers for event security. The officers are paid from private funds time-and-a-half for their efforts. That is the same amount they receive for overtime.

Event promoters and the like had been growing frustrated at what they saw as the murky rules around the program in terms of cost and availability of offices to work their events.

But now Supervisor David Campos has proposed an amendment to the rule — with police backing — that will help promoters and others plan better and make the program more transparent.

The legislation was introduced at the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

“For decades, San Francisco’s events producers have been stumbling around in the dark,” said Robbie Kowal, an event producer who was present at a Tuesday press conference on the proposed legislation.

The Campos bill, co-sponsored by Mark Farrell, will set a timeline for when event promoters must apply for security and when police must respond with the number of officers available.

The proposal also creates an appeals process through the police chief, if a request is denied or the number of officers is more than the organizers can afford.

The final part of the proposal is meant to give the program more transparency. With that in mind, the proposal makes it so the Entertainment Commission will collect data on the number of officers used for such events and how much money is spent.

“By creating a clear timeline and a transparent process for how festival organizers apply for 10B security, we are ensuring that festival organizers aren’t hit with unforeseen costs a few days before an event,” said Campos in a release.

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