By the numbers: How many police officers are there in San Francisco?

ByLiz Kreutz KGO logo
Friday, July 12, 2019
By the numbers: How many officers are there in SF?
After two disconcerting crime stories in San Francisco this week, Mayor London Breed had a clear message about the solution.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- After two disconcerting crime stories in San Francisco this week, Mayor London Breed had a clear message about the solution.

"The police department is understaffed," Breed told ABC7 News. "We do need a police presence, ultimately police presence is what's going to make a difference."

She added that more academy classes are also needed.

Breed's comments came in response to the attack on a tourist at the Legion of Honor, as well as the case of a woman whose home was ransacked and littered with drug paraphernalia.

So, what does the current police force look like in San Francisco?

We break down the numbers.

According to SFPD, there are currently 1,869 full duty SFPD officers assigned to the city. The population of the city is 883,305, according to the U.S. Census.

How does that compare to 10 years ago? In 2010, there were 1,920 full duty officers, per SFPD. The population then was also lower at 805,235.

That means that are fewer officers per capita in San Francisco than a decade ago. There is currently 1 officer for every 473 people. In 2010, there was 1 officer for every 419 people.

As San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott pointed out to ABC7 New, those numbers don't even take into account the huge growth in employment in the city, which on any given day can double the population of San Francisco.

"You look at the traffic patterns around the city. It takes longer to get to point A and point B, and those things play into the whole formula about who we need to employ, how many," Chief Scott said.

Asked if the Department could use more officers, he said "definitely."

Across the Bay Area, police departments have struggled with recruitment. The good news is that SFPD says their staffing continues to go up since a low in 2015, when the Department had 1,659 officers.

SFPD says they have 8 police academies planned over the next two years, which is more than they've had in the past.

Mayor Breed said they are working on recruitment tactics, but ultimately hiring more officers will come down to money.

"It's not always popular to support police funding at the Board of Supervisors, but at the end of the day, every member of the Board of Supervisors is asking for larger police presence in their communities and this is the only way we're going to get it," Breed told ABC7 News.

"It's not as if the number of officers we have in the department that they're all working at the same time. There's rotation, there's a number of other issues that come into play and it is frustrating."

SFPD said the Department has hired 1,000 officers over the last seven years and they are looking to hire more.