As many people know, the end of June is the end of the City’s fiscal year. While most people are making plans to celebrate our country’s birthday, those of us at the SFPOA office are watching to see how many officers are saying their goodbyes to the Department.
Every year at this time, the phone rings at the SFPOA with members calling for a plaque for a co-worker who put in for retirement. Unfortunately, the POA phone is ringing off the hook this year. Often, we know the people retiring. Sometimes, however, there a few surprises, those we didn’t anticipate. They range from the 30-year veteran who wants to quietly ride into the sunset with no fanfare or recognition, to the officer who has the time in service but not the maximum age who is just ready to go.
Their departure is a loss for the Department in terms of experience as well as creating holes in our staff roster, holes that in this day are becoming harder and harder to fill.
This not just a SFPD problem. It’s a national crisis, a crisis that has been growing year-after-year for the last five years. This is nothing new, nor should it be shocking to Department or City leaders.
San Francisco is a boom or bust town, a dynamic that appears to also affect its police department. Of course, this has the SFPOA loudly ranging the alarm bell about the shortage of officers on the street since at least 2018. Our warnings were not heeded as the policies and programs of the week in San Francisco government were prioritized and funded. In the meantime, our ranks continued to shine.
Too many politicians demonized our officers, defunded our department, and spent precious time arguing over what PC term to use to refer to convicted felons. This sideshow approach to public safety had serious consequences.
Our legal defense administrator, Retired Captain Paul Chignell did an analysis of the number of retirements and resignations from the SFPD from 2020 to 2022. His count did not include separations from SFPD during the Academy or Field Training. The results are eye staggering!
In 2020, we had 42 retirements and 57 resignations. In 2021 the number for retirements more than doubled to 105, and there were 46 resignations. For 2022 retirements increased to 115 and the resignations shot up to 70. So, in a matter of three years, we have had 262 retirements and 173 resignations for a grand total of 435 officers. As stated above, the situation is more dire as the count does not include those we lost from the Academy and Field Training.
It often feels like we’re beating the proverbial dead horse, but it is our duty to stress the importance of having enough officers out on the street to handle our community’s calls for service. That is impossible to do when we have so many leaving and so few coming in.
Hope is not lost when it comes to rebuilding the SFPD. We have a great contact, with the highest retention pay of any Bay Area agency, or state agency for that matter. If you lateral here from somewhere else, you get to keep your time, and not fall to the bottom of the pay scale. If you have 15 years’ experience, you are going to earn 10% retention pay on top of a great salary! But wait, there’s more. That number goes up another 6% before our contract is over!
Other key issues are trending our way as well. The citizens are supportive of our work. On public safety issues, the silent majority is becoming the vocal majority. They voted out a rogue District Attorney who put the interest of criminals first and tried to prosecute cops for sport. The voted in a District Attorney who approaches police accountability with integrity and ethics, who is giving voice to those victimized by crime in San Francisco. And for those job hunters who want the extra work, whether it be to save up a down payment for a house, pay for their child’s education, or if they’re looking for that extra toy for their collection, well we have an overtime job for you!
If we can make progress on the other issues holding people back from coming here, we can build a department that has foot-beats for our districts, fully staffed sectors with tow officers (better officer safety that way) and the extra staffing for all those pet projects and units that don’t seem to go away even in a staffing crisis.
But all that will be just a pipe dream if we don’t turn the numbers around. I am not a statistician, but one thing for sure is that the names don’t lie!
Below are the names of those who earned their retirement in the current fiscal year which ended on June 30, 2023:
|Lt. Martha Juarez||Sgt. Sue Nangle||Sgt. Ray Padmore|
|Sgt. Jude Rand||Ofc. Eric Chiang||Ofc. Cliff Chiu|
|Ofc. Matt Lobre||Ofc. Troy Peele||Ofc. Reggie Scott|
|Ofc. Lily Solano||Ofc. Joe Tomlinson||Ofc. Mark Trierweiler|
|Sgt. Eric O’Neal||Sgt. Priscilla Kenney||Sgt. Lawrence McDevitt|
|Ofc. Patrick Kollo||Ofc. Todd Sullivan||Capt. Peter Hamilton|
|Sgt. William Pon||Ofc. Irene Michaud||Ofc. Paul Yamamoto|
|Sgt. John Tack||Lt. Lynn Reilly||Sgt. Holly Stoumen|
|Ofc. Viet Ha||Ofc. Steven Stearns||Ofc. Robert Canedo|
|Ofc. Edward Markey||Ofc. Anthony Oerlemans||Ofc. Michael Peregoy|
|Ofc. Jimmy Wong||Ofc. John Stephens||Ofc. Yvonne Strickfaden|
|Capt. Tim Paine||Sgt. Ed Barrientos||Ofc. Anthony Assereto|
|Ofc. Antonette Valenzuela||Ofc. Bob Herrold||Ofc. Scott Hoey-Custock|
|Ofc. Julia Little||Sgt. Pat Kwan||Ofc. Nick Cuevas|
|Ofc. Kevin O’Leary||Sgt. John Bragagnolo||Sgt. Sherry Hicks|
|Sgt. Aaron Fischer||Ofc. Sean McNamara||Ofc. John Cathey|
|Ofc. Adam Eatia||Ofc. Joseph Garbayo||Ofc. Scott McBride|
|Sgt. Marc Chan||Sgt. Tim Fowlie||Sgt. Jason Jefferson|
|Ofc. Curt Barr||Ofc. Rickey L. Williams||Ofc. Craig Wilson|
All names taken from the SFPD Personnel Order starting at Number 14 on June 28, 2022, to Number 13 on June 21, 2023 (Fiscal year is July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023) Waiting on Number 14…..