SFPD unveils $747 million budget plan for 2020

SFPD unveils $747 million budget plan for 2020

In a virtual hearing held on Wednesday, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) presented its proposed $747 million budget to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Budget and Appropriations Committee for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

The budget meeting addressed how city officials and the SFPD hope to work together to meet the rising concerns of their respective constituents. The meeting, which lasted over five hours, attracted the attention of city residents in light of the recent protests calling for racial equity and justice.

“The reform right now is a big part that has to happen in the police department and in our state. There is a lot that we need to work on, but there are a lot of positives in the end,” SFPD Chief William Scott said. “At the end of the day, I know we all want a safe and healthy relationship. We hear the community, and we want to work with all departments.”

Scott presented a 10-year fiscal plan, stretching from 2011-20, which represented the amount of funding allocated for the SFPD during those years.

Six areas of police reform that were addressed within the report were: an airport bureau in its staffing, administration bureau that leads to funding, district station, investigations, special operations and strategic security to create a safer environment for the public.

One of the biggest issues brought to attention was overtime funding. From the presentation, overtime pay in the police department grew 9% from 2019, from $22.8 million to $23.7 million this year.

After Scott’s proposal, the hearing opened up the floor for any district supervisors to ask questions.

District Five Supervisor Dean Preston, who is not a member of the budget committee, asked if there was a way to lower or freeze the department’s overtime budget.

“When officers are going to clock off, and if they get a call or have to make a police report, then they start turning that into overtime,” Scott said. “Especially right now, with all the protests going on, every officer is needed. Meaning, if an officer was going on vacation, it was cancelled because it’s all hands on deck.”

Despite being a Budget and Appropriations Committee meeting, all board members were present, allowing the meeting to be considered a “Special Meeting of the Board of Supervisors,” according to the meeting’s agenda.

Prior to the meeting, several activist organizations created a Facebook event called “Defund SFPD Budget Public Comment: Make Your Voice Heard.”

A flyer uploaded to Instagram by @nojusticenopeacesf gained traction and gathered over 1,000 likes. It was organized in affiliation with several other groups, including No New SF Jail Coalition, Do No Harm Coalition, SF Public Bank Coalition and the AfroSocialist and Socialists of Color (SOC) Caucus.

A Google Doc linked in the Facebook post, with talking points to use when making public comment, read, “You’re here to tell them what you think– Defund, Disband, and Disarm SFPD. This proposed budget has no cuts (due to suggested cuts failing to pass the police commission) is a $43 million increase.”

The meeting concluded with time for comments and questions from the public. Over 144 callers waited to make one-minute comments. Only questions were presented, no answers or responses.

When public questioning began, council members and supervisors turned their cameras off, resulting in backlash from public commentators.

Callers responded with, “Start caring, and turn on your cameras,” “You’re not caring,” and “How about pay attention to us.”

“We need to invest in our communities and spread knowledge and stop killing Black and Brown people,” a resident of District Six said.

Future meetings discussing the SFPD’s proposed budget are scheduled for the month of August.