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San Fran struggles to find police officers as some take in $300k in overtime

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(The Center Square) – In 2023, the third highest-paid city/county of San Francisco employee was a police sergeant who made $587,059 in part due to $356,378 in overtime.

The overtime costs in the police department are due to what the city has called perennial shortages in staffing.

The budgeted positions in the police department are at its lowest levels since 2004 according to city budget documents.

The board of supervisors will consider putting a charter amendment up for approval by voters at a March 5, 2024, election that would set police minimum staffing levels for five years. Voters rejected such an amendment in 2020.

In 2022, the city budgeted for 2,023 positions for police officers, the lowest numbers since at least 2004, according to city budget documents.

As of September 2023, there are 1,578 full-duty sworn members, which is an unprecedented low point in recent history, according to the city. This is approximately 600 fewer officers than required to staff the police department at a level that would meet the city’s public safety needs, according to the department’s assessment.

The city said it is struggling to compete with the compensation of other police departments recruiting efforts. For example, the city of Alameda recently began offering $75,000 new hire recruiting bonuses.

The current starting annual salary for a San Francisco police officer is $103,116. After seven years, that officer can make $147,628 a year, according to their website. Those base salaries do not include overtime. Five city police officers made more than $300,000 in overtime during the 2023 fiscal year, which ends June 30.

The Mayor’s office did not respond to an email seeking comment.

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