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San Francisco to let citizens vote on fund for police department staffing

A tax would be added to create a fund that would allow for minimum staffing limits to be set and increased until the department reaches 2,074 officers

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AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File

By Joanna Putman

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a city charter amendment that will allow voters to choose whether they want to pay for new police officers, Bay City News reported.

If voters approve the amendment, a tax will be added to create a police staffing fund. The fund would reach $16.8 million within the first year, according to the report. The fund would allow the city to set a minimum staffing number of 1,700 officers in the first year.

The minimum staffing number would increase every year until the city reaches a maximum of 2,074 officers, according to the report.

“The proposed measure provides voters with a chance to express whether they desire more police presence,” said Supervisor Catherine Stefani, who voted for the measure.

The department has about 300 fully funded positions currently vacant in its budget, raising concerns that the staffing shortage has more to do with a lack of applicants than a lack of funding, according to the report.

“We have not provided young people and people in community with the excitement of becoming a police officer,” said Supervisor Shamann Walton.

Citizens can vote on the measure March 5, 2024, according to the report.