New Police Contract Agreement Approved to Support City's Long-Term Police Staffing Strategy

New contract will incentivize officer retention and recruitment, and help replenish academy classes as part of the City’s strategy to address staffing shortages and public safety challenges
April 21, 2023

San Francisco, CA – The Board of Supervisors today voted to approve a ratified contract with the San Francisco Police Officers Association as part of the City’s work to address severe police staffing shortages in a 10 to 1 vote. The new legislation is a key step in Mayor Breed's long-term strategy to retain and recruit police officers, including new enhancements to prevent police staff’s premature departures and attract new officers with a more competitive starting salary and other benefits.    

The agreement includes significant retention incentives, as well as newly added incentives specific to officers looking to transfer from other jurisdictions. It will also help recruit new officers by making San Francisco the highest paid entry-level salary for larger cities in the Bay Area, and supports officers and their families with included childcare support in circumstances where officers get called in for mandatory overtime, called back to work, or held over schedule.    

“People want our officers to focus on the open-air drug dealing, retail theft, home burglaries, and violence impacting our neighborhoods, but we need more police to deliver on those services,” said Mayor London Breed. “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. This agreement is part of that work and is a significant step in retaining the officers we’ve trained and invested in, as well as recruiting police officers to fill our Academy classes.”  

“We are currently short staffed by 562 officers or approximately 25% short of the 2,182 officers required to meet our workload demands,” said Police Chief Bill Scott. “This new contract is a clear indication that our City leaders are committed long-term to public safety, and to supporting the appropriate number of San Francisco police officers we need to respond to calls for service so we can better address violent and property crimes, traffic concerns, and open-air drug dealing impacting our communities.”   

What the new police contract will deliver  

The new police contract will deliver four enhancements to meet the City’s goal of retaining and expanding SFPD’s workforce:  

  • Makes San Francisco the highest entry-level salary of any larger competing jurisdiction/city in the Bay Area by setting a 10.75% salary increase over the next three years: 4.75% in year one, 3% in year two, and 3% in year three.    
  • Establishes retention incentives to stop the outflow of officers and maintain the experienced officers we have trained and invested in, by adding 3% increases for officers at five, seven, and eight years of service.  
  • Attracts recruits from other jurisdictions by establishing that police officers or deputy sheriffs hired from agencies outside of San Francisco will advance to the next salary step after one year, instead of two.  
  • Extends a pilot program to provide emergency childcare reimbursement when they are held for mandatory overtime, called back to work, or held over schedule.  

“Public safety is the most basic function of local government.  San Francisco’s growing shortage of officers has left us over-reliant on overtime, which is unsustainable from a fiscal perspective and further erodes the morale of our officers on the ground,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. “These new hiring and retention incentives send a clear message: We want more police officers serving San Francisco.”   

“This agreement shows San Franciscans that we take their public safety concerns seriously. It sets a competitive pay rate and provides vital recruitment and retention bonuses that are badly needed to hire more officers,” said Supervisor Catherine Stefani. “The fact we are over 500 officers short is having negative consequences citywide and we must do everything possible to close that gap.”  

“Nationwide, we are in the most competitive environment for law enforcement personnel in modern history, with an outsized generational cohort of Clinton-Era police officers reaching retirement age and diminishing numbers of young people pursuing public safety careers,” said Supervisor Matt Dorsey. “I applaud Mayor Breed for her leadership on this contract agreement, which I view as a key part of San Francisco’s long-term strategy to better compete against other jurisdictions for more police officers.”  

“The financial incentives in the new police contract are essential for recruitment. But we will never have enough officers walking neighborhoods and patrolling streets until people are willing to be police officers in San Francisco,” said Supervisor Joel Engardio. “That’s why we need to let people know SFPD is a leader in reform and that we value and support our officers.”  

“On behalf of my members, I want to express my gratitude to the Mayor, the Department of Human Resources, and the Supervisors committed to investing in SFPD for negotiating and approving our new contract,” said Tracy McCray, President of the San Francisco Police Officers Association. “It sends a message both to our police officers and the City's residents that public safety is a priority and acknowledges the realities of our staffing crises and the immediate need to retain and recruit officers to improve safety in our city.”      

Sworn staffing levels have fallen precipitously in the last three years. Currently, San Francisco is 562 below the staffing analysis recommended level, with many eligible for retirement. The City is working aggressively on solutions to meet our police staffing challenges across four specific areas:  

  • Recruitment: Bringing new officers in with an expanded focus on a diverse workforce  
  • Retention: Keeping the officers we have trained so we do not lose their experience to other jurisdictions  
  • Civilization: Adding more non-sworn employees to free up officers to do the work they are uniquely needed and trained to do  
  • Alternatives: Diverting certain calls or responsibilities to non-law enforcement entities who can provide a more effective response, while also freeing up officers to focus on other work  

While cities across the country continue to grapple with police staffing shortages, San Francisco has already begun implementing a wide range of interim solutions to deal with shortages locally, to include the recent approval of a $25 million budget supplemental to fund police overtime and continuation of everyday public safety services.  

Generally, the City bargains with the Police Officers Association every 2-3 years. In 2020, raises were deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pushing contract extensions an additional two years to 2023.