San Francisco Mayor London Breed in Sacramento on March 9, 2020. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

(CALMATTERS) – A “top priority” in San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s forthcoming budget proposal: more funding for police academies and officer recruitment and retention amid rising voter concerns about crime and public safety. But her plan could be stymied by a lack of prospective applicants: “You have these aspirational goals of throwing more money at any particular department, but it’s just a paper game if those positions remain vacant,” Supervisor Aaron Peskin told the San Francisco Chronicle. “If you’re doing prudent, realistic budgeting, you have as many academy classes as you reasonably think you have applicants to fill.” 

  • That’s the situation confronting Los Angeles: Mayor Eric Garcetti wanted to boost the Los Angeles Police Department’s ranks by 780 officers to 9,735 — a goal budget consultants said was impossible due to the city’s labor shortage, the Los Angeles Times reports. The more likely scenario: The LAPD will have fewer than 9,500 officers by June 2023. As a result, city councilmembers proposed increasing the LAPD’s operating budget by 6.5%, rather than the 8.5% Garcetti wanted. 
  • The emphasis on beefing up police departments follows outcry from some residents and small businesses afflicted by crime: The co-owner of a beloved Filipino restaurant in Oakland was shot and killed Wednesday night in front of his 11-year-old son, while a Tuesday night shootout at an East Palo Alto park filled with children and families left one person dead and three injured. “These people decided to shoot at each other, 33 rounds between them, with all these kids playing in the park,” said Jeff Liu, interim East Palo Alto police chief. 
  • And it comes ahead of the June 7 recall election of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, which, according to a swath of recent polls, seems likely to succeed. “Whether it is real or not, the crime wave is coming for Boudin,” Annie Lowrey wrote in a Thursday article in The Atlantic. “San Franciscans do not feel safe and secure.”