In 1994 San Francisco voters approved Proposition D, which set forth in the city charter a mandatory police department staffing level of 1,971 sworn officers. This requirement resulted from a 1979 class action settlement to address race and sex discrimination in the department. At the time of the settlement, the force of 1,670 had only 60 women and 200 Black, Asian, or Hispanic officers. The settlement required the police department to set a minimum staffing level of 1,971 officers and maintain that level for three years. It became part of the city charter in 1994 with the passage of the ballot measure.
Proposition E Proposal
If approved, Proposition E would remove the requirements that the Police Department maintain a minimum number of full-duty sworn police officers and a minimum number of full-duty sworn officers for neighborhood policing and replace those requirements with regular evaluations of police staffing levels.
The measure would require the Chief of Police to submit a report to the Police Commission at least every two years describing the current number of full-duty sworn officers and recommending future officer staffing levels. The report would include current overall staffing, the workload handled by the Police Department’s employees, the department’s public service objectives, the department’s legal duties, and other information the Chief of Police deemed relevant to determining proper staffing levels of full-duty sworn officers.
The measure would require the Police Commission to hold a public hearing on the report, and adopt a policy at least once every two years for the Chief of Police to use in evaluating staffing levels. It would further require the Police Commission to consider the staffing report in its approval of the Police Department’s proposed budget every fiscal year, but the Commission would not be required to accept or adopt any of the recommendations in the report.
Source: Legal Text of Proposition E and League of Women Voters of San Francisco Nonpartisan Analysis of Proposition E