Calls for more officers after armed robbery at SF Palace of Fine Arts

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The San Francisco Police Officers Association is responding to one supervisor's call for more foot patrols following an armed robbery at the iconic Palace of Fine Arts, saying more officers are needed in general.

San Francisco police say the armed robbery happened around 7:45 a.m. Sunday. Someone robbed women and children visiting the Palace of Fine Arts at gunpoint.

"I'm surprised something like that would happen here at a pretty upscale residential area," said Carlos Ayala, who was visiting from Southern California.

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"It's sad. It's a beautiful park," said Jenny Ayala.

"I think it's alarming and I don't think it should happen anywhere," said Supervisor Catherine Stefani.

Stefani says Northern Station has made great strides in enforcement around car break-ins around the Palace of Fine Arts.

"We know police presence works," said Stefani.

ABC7 News saw San Francisco police patrolling Tuesday. By phone, Northern Station's captain says there wasn't a patrol unit assigned that early Sunday morning.

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The president for the San Francisco Police Officers Association says more officers are needed in general.

"I think every district is faced with wanting more foot patrols," said Tony Montoya.

"I'm with the POA on that, of course we need more officers," said Stefani.

Tuesday afternoon, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed its budget.

"Which includes $32 million for additional resources for the police department that will bring on 250 more officers over the next four years," said Stefani.

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"Even if we were able to attain that goal, it's still not going to keep up with the amount of people we're losing," said Montoya.

He says more officers are retiring earlier, selling back a percentage of their unused sick hours before that benefit goes away.

Montoya says there's also a 35 percent attrition rate from the academy to the completion of field training and that officers with less than five years at SFPD are going over to other agencies.

Meantime, tourists say they'll be more vigilant.

"I guess people will now be on high alert and not think you're too safe anywhere," said Val Ayala.

No matter how iconic the destination.
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