Cops fleeing Kamala Harris’ San Fran for safer, cheaper cities
Officers in San Francisco are voting with their feet as politicians debate the future of policing in Harris’ home city.
“If the police exits continue at the current pace, the SFPD is on track to lose nearly twice as many cops this year as it did last year and close to four times as many as in 2018,” says Officer.com.
“This is just the beginning. Dozens are actively in the hiring process with other agencies,” said Tony Montoya, president of the Police Officers Association.
Many of the officers are leaving to take jobs in places that haven’t instituted “the social experiment” of defunding the police that, in San Francisco, pre-dated the George Floyd protests.
“Interviews with officers who have left, or are planning to leave, suggest a combination of reasons are at play. But many cited the frustration of working under Proposition 47, a statewide criminal justice reform measure approved by voters in 2014 that reduced many nonviolent felonies, such as hard drug possession and theft of less than $950, to misdemeanors that can be cited with little or no jail time,” says Officer.com.
Indeed, many of these same policies are now being instituted in other places like New York and Chicago in wake of the so-called police reform movement.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that other cops cite the high cost of living in San Francisco as another reason to leave.
“I was getting a great paycheck, but 20% went to taxes,” said one former San Francisco officer now working at a police department in Texas according to the Chronicle. “Here I got a bigger house, a more affordable lifestyle and a commute that went from two hours each way to 15 minutes.”
Others say that the increased scrutiny caused by cell phone videos, which can often be taken out of context by those who don’t understand policing, is another reason– combined with budget cuts– that are leading people to leave the force.
The city’s force is already understaffed by 159 officers.
But still, Bay-area politicians want to take money from law enforcement activities and use it for programs in Black communities for something else.
And if police don’t like it, politicos say they can lump it and leave.
“Change is difficult and sometimes heightens people’s fears on how it will affect them personally,” says long-time San Francisco Police Commission member Petra DeJesus. “I hope that the changes may help the department recruit applicants that want to be a part of the new direction and change.”
As a result “Members have gone to places like the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, Pleasant Hill, Beverly Hills, Petaluma, Palm Springs, Placerville, Long Beach, Idaho, Texas, Arizona,” Montoya said.
PHOTO: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/TNS
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