Supervisors consider expanding scope of police foot patrols

Board tentatively votes to add Tenderloin, Mission and Ingleside to pilot beats

Despite the police chief’s warning of increased costs and slower response times, city supervisors still want to require foot patrols — and now they want them in even more neighborhoods.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi has drafted legislation that would require the Police Department to have at least one officer out on the streets in his district, which includes the Western Addition, Inner Sunset and the Haight, an area policed by the Northern and Park police district stations.

The Board of Supervisors voted 5-4 Tuesday to add the Tenderloin,Mission and Ingleside police stations to the mix, and sent the legislation back to a Board of Supervisors committee for a hearing. Advocates say foot patrols are one answer to curb the rising violence San Francisco has seen in the last three years.

Prior to the meeting, police Chief Heather Fong warned members of the board that the legislation would increase response time to violent crimes. She also said it would cost The City millions in overtime. City Budget Analyst Harvey Rose, however, said the Police Department could implement the legislation with existing resources.

Supervisor Chris Daly, whose district includes the Tenderloin, said he is willing to consider losing a few seconds in response time to obtain the benefits he said would come from regular foot patrols, such as building community trust and crime prevention.

In her letter to the board, Fong said 310 officers were assigned to foot patrols every week last year and that foot patrols remain a priority.

But the foot patrols are “ad hoc” and a “discretionary practice,” Mirkarimi said.

“It is just beyond our role as members of the board to put in our code to enact by law where a particular police officer is supposed to walk,” said Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, who opposed amending the legislation. Supervisors Bevan Dufty, Fiona Ma and Sophie Maxwell also voted in opposition.

The amended legislation will come before the Board of Supervisors Committee on Ending Gun and Gang Violence on Oct. 2, and could return to the full Board of Supervisors for a vote on Oct. 3.

IN OTHER ACTION

POLICE STAFFING: Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi requested an audit of the staffing levels of the Police Department to better determine the number of officers The City needs and how best to employ them.

STATION BOUNDARIES: The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance requiring a review at least every 10 years of the boundaries of police district stations, and adjusting them according to crime statistics in order to ensure the most resources are focused on the highest crime areas.

CHAIN STORES: In a 7-2 vote, the Board of Supervisors approved a one-year interim ordinance requiring formula retailers — essentially chain stores with 11 or more locations — to undergo a public hearing before being allowed to open for business in the Potrero Hill area.

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