Special event security bulks up SF police officers' pay

If you want to put on a big event in The City, expect to pay a big fee for security costs.

San Francisco charges promoters higher rates than other large Bay Area cities for using uniformed police officers for event security. The bills for using San Francisco cops can amount to tens of thousands of dollars.

Click on the photo at right to see a chart of the organizations that used the most police officers to cover events.

Retail stores, developers, special community districts, film productions, road races and entertainment events hired more than $9 million worth of off-duty San Francisco police officers’ time last fiscal year to provide security and traffic control. This practice is commonly referred to as 10B — a reference to the relevant city administrative code section — and event organizers are generally required as part of the permit to hire a specified number of officers determined by the police department.

SFPD officers are paid an hourly rate of time and a half for 10B work, the same rate they receive for overtime. Cops are therefore able to collect their salary overtime as well as 10B pay. Some officers have made as much as $82,660 annually in 10B work alone. Thirteen police officers earned in excess of $50,000 in 10B on top of their department salaries.

Of the 1,073 recorded events that paid for 10B officers last fiscal year, 121 paid in excess of $20,000, according to records provided to The San Francisco Examiner by the Police Department. The cops are paid not by The City but by the private entities who hire them.

Another Planet Entertainment was billed $152,967 for officers in August 2010 for Outside Lands, its three-day concert in Golden Gate Park. Zazzle Bay to Breakers was charged the most for a single event, at $322,166. The 49ers hired about $80,000 worth of officers per home game, with a high of $97,223 for the team’s battle against the Raiders in October 2010. The San Francisco Marathon was billed $105,217.

Other cities require the use of police officers for special events in the area, but San Francisco’s come at a higher cost.  

Oakland charges time-and-a-half rates plus an 11.64 percent administrative fee, which results in $80.39 an hour for an officer and $92.75 an hour for a sergeant. That’s well below the rate in San Francisco, which charges, as of July 1, from $99.25 an hour to $176.71 an hour plus an administrative fee of 14.7 percent.

San Francisco has a greater variety in its rates, including more expensive rates for nighttime events.

San Jose’s Police Department, meanwhile, only charges straight time for special event duty, which is $46.50 or $48 an hour.

“A benefit of the 10B program is that it puts additional officers on the street and at venues at no cost to taxpayers,” said Sgt. Michael Andraychak, a spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department.  “Organizers often use a combination of private security, event staff and police officers. Having the officers already on scene at the event provides them with quicker police response without taking officers from regular patrol duties.”

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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