Police in San Francisco aren’t waiting around for pandering politicians to “defund” the city’s police department, which has already seen a mass exodus of officers following the passage of a state law called Prop 47, a statewide criminal-justice law passed back in 2014. It appears the pace of officer exits is picking up this year, and what’s even more interesting: The acceleration started before the murder of George Floyd.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, 23 officers resigned during the first six months of the year, with many resigning even before Floyd’s murder. Most expect that another wave of resignations spurred by the protests and widespread anti-police sentiment in the deep blue state will spur even more officers to leave.
Of those, 19 took jobs at other law enforcement agencies, in and outside the state. By comparison, 26 officers resigned in 2019, and only 12 officers resigned in 2018.
One critic of City Hall’s law enforcement policies blamed a “social experiment” whereby police were commanded to refuse to enforce all low-level crime for the city’s problems.
“The members are upset that the social experiment being conducted in San Francisco is failing, and they would rather work someplace that values them,” said Montoya, a constant critic of City Hall’s calls for police reform, which after the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis has taken the form of shifting money from the police budget to social causes.
And this is only the beginning, according to the critic quoted above. At this pace, the number of officers leaving in 2020 could double the number from 2019, and nearly 4x the pace from 2018.
“This is just the beginning. Dozens are actively in the hiring process with other agencies,” said Tony Montoya, president of the Police Officers Association.
“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.
Long commutes are also a problem, since most cops can’t afford an apartment in the city where they work.
Police Chief Bill Scott said there has been an “uptick” in officers leaving this year but that many of the applications to leave predated the national unrest after Floyd’s death.
“It’s a tough job, and for many officers it’s also long commute to and from work,” Scott said in a recent interview. “If there are opportunities closer to home, people are going to take them.”
One officer, who wasn’t named, but who said he quit the San Francisco Police Department and took another job at a department in Texas (ditching California like Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and Joe Rogan plan to do) summed up the department’s retention problem in a few sentences. It’d not just about the money, he said. It’s the money, combined with the long commutes combined with the fact that San Francisco NIMBYs (basically every homeowner in the city) are impossible to satisfy.
“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 who asked not to be named for privacy concerns. “Here I got a bigger house, a more affordable lifestyle and a commute that went from two hours each way to 15 minutes.”
“It’s also nice working at a place where everyone isn’t mad at you,” the officer said. “In San Francisco, everyone was mad. The homeowners would get mad because you didn’t move the homeless who were sleeping in front of their house. Then, when you tried to help the homeless, someone would start yelling about police brutality.”
“And everyone had a cell phone camera on you,” he said