San Mateo searches for temporary sleeping quarters for police officers

SAN MATEO, Calif. (KGO) -- With about three quarters of its officers commuting long hours to work, the San Mateo County Police Department, with the help of the city, is looking for temporary sleeping quarters between shift rotations.

Being a San Mateo police officer usually means long commutes to work. "Only 25 percent of our officers live locally here," said San Mateo PD Ofc. Michael Haobsh.

The average commute time for an officer is almost an hour each way. That's nearly double the average Bay Area commute time, which is 32 minutes each way.

This is one of the most affluent counties in the Bay Area. Housing is expensive.

Ofc. Haobsh knows just how pricey even rentals can get. "I was looking for a one bedroom apartment just last weekend. There are apartments going for $4,000 a month," he said.

Not only are the commutes long, so are the working hours.

"Our officers work a minimum of 11 hour and 40 minute shifts. Usually, they're mandated to stay over, sometimes working as much as 17-hour shifts," Ofc. Haobsh said.

The commute and the working hours translate into fatigue. Officers need a place to sleep and refresh themselves between shifts.

The city of San Mateo began looking for a place for them to do that earlier this month. They looked at old fire stations.

The firehouse the city has chosen is Station 26 on South Norfolk Street. Its lease with ambulance service AMR ends at the end of the year.

And it's a perfect fit, says Mayor Diane Papan. "We're hoping to have around 12 bunks. We have a little retrofitting but 12 is a lot and it'll make for some quiet quarters for our folks."

It is located on the east side of the city, in a neighborhood with lots of car break-ins.

So, it'll be temporary sleeping quarters but also a substation and a deterrent to crime.

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