SF police union hopes TV ads will help workforce as it struggles with recruitment

The 30-second ads started airing on TV and posted on social media encouraging people to seek careers with the police department.

Lyanne Melendez Image
Tuesday, April 4, 2023
Struggling with recruitment, SF Police Union turns to ads
San Francisco Police Union is getting help through new TV ads and social media to have people consider joining its workforce.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The staffing crisis within the San Francisco Police Department has been called "catastrophic," by at least one supervisor. Now, one San Francisco business executive has offered to help by spreading the word through television ads and social media.

The ads feature real police officers, native San Franciscans, telling their stories about why they joined the police force.

"I love growing up in the Sunset. Those are memories I will take with me forever," expresses Sgt. Culbert Chu, who is in one of the ads.

"Having someone raised in the community now coming back and working in it, I think that's one of the most of the most powerful things," says Lt. Tracy McCray, the president of the Police Officers Association who is also featured in the video.

The 30-second ads started airing on TV and posted on social media encouraging people to seek careers with the police department.

Behind this new strategy is another born and raised San Franciscan, Chris Larsen co-founder of the cryptocurrency company Ripple.

"It's something we could do quickly and we're happy with the results so far. We're excited to see if this helps move the needle but I think it's one of many things that need to happen to fix this problem in public safety," says Larsen.

Larsen donated $600,000 to the police union, a nonprofit organization, to help produce and air these ads.

"Good people, qualified candidates will look at us as being a good place to get started in law enforcement," explains Dan Kelly of the police union.

VIDEO: 'Worst is yet to come:' SFPD may be short around 825 officers by end of year, ABC7 I-Team uncovers

Police staffing in SF is projected to hit an all-time low. Documents obtained by ABC7 shed light on which neighborhoods are suffering because of it.

San Francisco is short hundreds of officers and continues to rely on overtime to meet the demand.

"The only way that we temporarily bridge that shortcoming, that gap is through overtime," stated SFPD Chief William Scott a few weeks ago.

The Board of Supervisors recently voted to give an additional $25 million to cover that overtime. But that's only a temporary solution.

"We are hundreds of police officers short with the trend going in the wrong direction, Too few new recruits to fill the increasing retirements and other cities recruiting from us that's a real problem," adds Larsen

The ads are targeted at those between the ages of 18 to 34.

Each ad ends with this statement:

"I was born in this city. I was raised in this city and now I'm protecting the city."

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live