There are some real issues with the Patrol Special Police that should be addressed, but also some follow up questions to the Controller's Report that came out today.
For those of you who have not seen it, Examiner reported on SF Controller's finding about the cost to the city to oversee the private police officers known as Patrol Specials. These are the private officers merchants and neighborhoods hire to walk specific beats.
Our Controller is probably the single best public official in the City – and we are lucky to have him. But the reported conclusion that the $303,000 yearly price tag isn't worth the cost needs to be discussed.
With 31 patrol specials, that works out to less than 10k per year to have these officers out there walking beats. A regular SFPD officer costs something like 130k with salary and benefits, as I recall. That means these patrol specials are costing us about 8% of what the regular officers cost – and that seems like a pretty good deal.
Yes, there are liability issues. Yes, there are training issues. Yes, there are equity issues.
But it seems like we could address those in a way that preserves this community resource.