San Francisco police officers are leaving the department in record numbers with many pursuing jobs at departments elsewhere in the state or around the country, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday.
The mass exodus, which amounts to 54 officers so far this year — with 23 leaving for other jobs and 31 retiring — comes as the city just approved a measure to defund the police and is debating other areas of reform as a result of Black Lives Matter protests.
In late July, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced $120 million in police funding would be redirected to address disparities in the black community over the next two years. That was just the latest in a string of abuses that police have suffered in the last decade.
Many officers are also reportedly frustrated working under California’s Proposition 47, a measure that reduced many nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors and has resulted in little or no jail time for such crimes as hard drug possession and theft.
Now officers are effectively protesting the changes by packing their things and moving on.
According to the Chronicle, the number of officers leaving the department is trending at a record pace. If they continue as they are, the department 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.”
Tony Montoya, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, warned, “This is just the beginning. Dozens are actively in the hiring process with other agencies.”
“The members are upset that the social experiment being conducted in San Francisco is failing, and they would rather work someplace that values them,” he added. “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,”
One officer who transferred to Texas, said that in addition to better pay and fewer taxes, “it’s also nice working at a place where everyone isn’t mad at you.”
“In San Francisco, everyone was mad,” he said. “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 cellphone camera on you.”
Another officer said that with the upcoming budget cuts, pay freezes, and the potential for more reform, San Francisco “just doesn’t feel like a place to be for the long haul.”