San Francisco Police, City Agree on Contract that Guarantees Raises

March 7, 2023
Under the tentative agreement, San Francisco police officers would receive a 10.75% raise over three years in an effort to bolster staffing levels and address residents' safety concerns.

San Francisco and the union representing its police force have tentatively agreed on a new contract that would give officers a 10.75% raise over three years, which Mayor London Breed touted as a critical step to bolstering the department's staffing levels and addressing residents' safety concerns.

The proposed deal, reached after several months of negotiations, must still be voted on by the Board of Supervisors.

The contract would make San Francisco the Bay Area city with the highest base wage for entry level police, said Mawuli Tugbenyoh, spokesman for the city's human resources department.

Presently, the starting salary for a new San Francisco Police Officer is $103,116, according to the department's website. After seven years, officers may earn up to $147,628 per year under their current contract.

Under the proposed contract, based on the current starting salary figure, a new cop would see his first year salary rise to above $108,000. Officers with more experience would also see 3% raises when they hit five years, seven years, and eight years.

In an emailed statement, Breed touted the contract as a "significant step" in retaining SFPD police officers and recruiting others to fill future academy classes.

"Public safety is the number one issue I hear about from our residents and small businesses,"' she said. "While short-term solutions like using overtime funding to keep officers in our neighborhoods and responding to calls is critical, we also need to aggressively move forward strategies to stabilize and grow our police force in the long-term."

About 83% of the police department's $713 million budget pays for staffing and benefits, Tugbenyoh said.

The proposed raise would be phased in with a 4.75% increase in the first year, followed by 3% raises over the next two years. The proposed deal would cost taxpayers an additional $25.6 million in the first year of the contract, according to city estimates,and about $84 million over the next three years.

Mayoral spokesman Jeff Cretan said the city plans to present the proposed contract — which has been ratified by the membership of the San Francisco Police Officers' Association — on Tuesday. The deal must first be heard by the board's government audit and oversight committee, led by District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston, a vocal critic of the department and its management of its finances. Then, the full board of supervisors must vote on the contract.

Preston was not available for comment Monday afternoon.

The city's police force weathered hundreds of retirements over the past few years, and its advocates say it is suffering from a staffing crisis, with 331 officers fewer than were patrolling the city back in 2019. Presently, the city's force is about 541 officers below the number recommended by a 2021 staffing analysis.

In an effort to prevent officers from transferring to other nearby jurisdictions, the contract also includes 3% retention bonuses for officers when they hit five, seven, and eight years on the force. And the contract extends a pilot program that reimburses childcare for employees held over for mandatory overtime, or who are called back to work or held past their scheduled shift.

Board president Aaron Peskin said the deal comes at a "difficult time" when revenues are not growing and personnel expenses are growing.

"It's an expensive package but it's what the market commands, based on comparative pay in other areas," Peskin said. "It's a fair deal. ... I don't think anybody has a choice."

Others, including organizations focused on police accountability, were less convinced.

James Burch, spokesman for the Oakland-based Anti Police-Terror Project,said the city's police officers are among the best paid employees in the city, "comfortably pulling down six figures." The city's leadership had made "statement after statement reflecting that the city was in a financial emergency right now," he said. "If that were the case in my city, any rational person would take a long hard look at the largest budget item. And for San Francisco, like most large cities, that's the police department."

Other supervisors expressed hope the new deal would improve retention — and lead to an honest conversation about the department's future and what it would take to deliver the services residents expect.

District 4 Supervisor Joel Engardio said he was glad the city had reached an agreement, but noted the last academy class had about a dozen graduates.

"While better pay could help, a bigger problem is that San Francisco doesn't support our police officers," he said. "They're a model of reform but treated like they can't be trusted.... They don't feel valued and we need to change that narrative."

District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman also said he hoped the deal would help attract new recruits and slow the loss of more experienced officers.

District 1 Supervisor Connie Chan noted that the city had recently increased the department's budget by $50 million, approved a $600,000 consulting contract to help the department improve recruiting' agreed to fund four academy classes, is considering granting the department's $27 million budget supplemental measure and was now considering a contract that would further its budget giving officers significant raises.

"We are investing in public safety ... Let's have an honest conversation," she said. "With all these investments, how long will it take for us to reach the goal of a fully staffed police force to deliver the results we want for a city of this size?"

Public Safety advocates called the proposed raise "a step in the right direction," but called for further measures to draw additional talent to the Bay Area.

The city "needs to look at innovative things to do that beyond pay increases," said Frank Noto, president of Stop Crime SF, "not just from other police departments, because that's a stretch, given cost of housing, and to recruit from across the Bay Area. This is a step in the right direction, but not enough."

San Francisco Police Officers Association President Tracy McCray was not immediately available for comment Monday afternoon.


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