San Francisco Board of Supervisors
San Francisco City Hall
1 Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, California 94102
November 6, 2023
Re: Amendments to San Francisco Police Department Full Staffing Act
Dear San Francisco Rules Committee,
On behalf of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, I share our opposition to the San Francisco Police Department Full Staffing Act (File No. 230985). Our Board of Directors supports the initial charter amendment’s intent, which aimed to fund crucial SFPD recruitment and retention efforts from the city’s general fund. The amended version currently under consideration implies that San Franciscans must agree to pay extra for a fully staffed police department.
The city faces a generational staffing challenge of more than 30% less officers than the independently recommended staffing level of 2,182, with further reductions on the horizon due to near-term retirements, resulting in a dangerously low 52% of the necessary officers needed for full staffing. The current inability to meet sufficient staffing levels hampers the SFPD’s ability to carry out proactive policing strategies for our businesses and residents. More than ever we need the resources to address the open air drug markets crisis and address property crimes that disproportionately affect our small businesses, residents, and tourists.
It is critical for our city to demonstrate a strong commitment to public safety, and linking that message to a new tax diminishes its impact. While we acknowledge the concerns about the city’s projected budget deficit, we urge you to consider the potential negative consequences of significant police department understaffing. Companies are basing their decisions to locate in San Francisco, host conferences, and bring workers back to the office based on public safety perceptions. The lack of proactive policing deeply impacts small businesses, who are too often victims of crime. These issues have tangible consequences for the city’s tax revenue, and overall vibrancy.
Based on these concerns, we do not support this amendment that forces a choice between adequate police staffing and additional taxes. Public safety is a critical function of public service and should be funded from the current general fund.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
President & CEO
The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
235 Montgomery St., Ste. 760, San Francisco, CA 94104
tel: 415.392.4520 • fax: 415.392.0485