Mirkarimi pushes for police foot patrols
to help stem violent crime
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi is championing an effort to redraw SFPD
resource district boundaries with the intent of applying foot
patrols to neighborhoods
most impacted by violent crime.
By Daniel Powell
August 16, 2006
A proposed ordinance that would temporarily increase the number
of police foot patrols in San Francisco's crime-plagued Western
Addition stirred praise and apprehension at Tuesday's Board of
The ordinance, a one-year pilot program sponsored by Supervisor
Ross Mirkarimi, would add two foot-patrol officers a day to patrol
high-crime targeted areas in an effort to stem the city's rising
homicide rate. Mirkarimi said he hopes the program will lead to
a citywide permanent increase in foot patrols.
"I want to see foot and beat patrols citywide, and we're
working very, very hard to make this happen," Mirkarimi said.
He also asked that the board postpone taking action on the ordinance
until Sept. 19.
"I'm still willing to entertain any possible amendments
by any of you, or by the mayor's office that helps strengthen
towards a citywide program."
During the meeting, Supervisor Sophie Maxwell recounted driving
past the site of a double homicide one block from her home in
the Bayview District last week.
"We need beat police officers," she said. "We
have a situation where people are being murdered in the streets
of San Francisco. The excuses just don't work anymore."
Supervisor Sophie Maxwell
But with the number of police officers well below the city charter's
mandate of 1,971, supervisors Sean Elsbernd and Jake McGoldrick
both expressed concerns that fundamental issues of police staffing
and funding weren't being addressed.
"Let's be clear, to really have foot patrols across the
city we need to have a full police force," Elsbernd said.
"And to have a full police force we need to fully fund the
Supervisors Sean Elsbernd and Jake McGoldrick
McGoldrick was frustrated by what he saw as a "sorely lacking"
amount of information on the "collateral consequences"
of unevenly concentrating more officers in higher crime areas.
"I can't say that we can vote on this in a very informed
way, other than as a stabbing out at a problem that we're all
frustrated as hell about," he said.
"I'm lucky. We are not dragging bodies in body bags out
of my district. We are not cleaning up the blood in the streets
in my district every day. But I've got to know that down the street
I'm not going to see bigger problems erupt and explode."
Mirkarimi responded, "In areas where people might be concerned
about any kind of domino effect about instituting a foot-and-beat
patrol in [the Western Addition], we've taken pains to make sure
that it does not impinge upon any other district at all. I'm definitely
not going into this slipshod."
Supervisors Bevan Dufty, Tom Ammiano and Fiona Ma all voiced
support for the proposed ordinance.
Supervisor Tom Ammiano
Supervisor Fiona Ma
"I am prepared to vote for Supervisor Mirkarimi's measure
to see what will happen," Dufty said. "I think there
is a need for leadership coming out of this department, a greater
amount of proactivity.
"As much as I support the men and women of this department
who put their lives on the line every time they go out to protect
I am frustrated, too."
Supervisor Bevan Dufty