April 2014

New Police Headquarters

Keith Burbank

The San Francisco Police Department will be changing the boundaries of at least two police districts. The new lines were prompted because the department is relocating its Southern Station to a new public safety building, located at Third and Mission Rock streets, later this year. Absent the change, two stations would serve the Bayview District, with no station dedicated to the South of Market neighborhood. Currently, the Bayview District serves Bayview-Hunters Point north to Terry Francois Boulevard and Channel Street, while Channel Street, Market Street, the Bay and Highway 101 are the approximate boundaries of Southern Station. 

“There will be dominoes,” said Bayview Station Captain Robert O’Sullivan, who is on a committee looking at revising lines. In addition to the relocation of Southern Station, the police department, along with a consultant, will consider other factors in resetting the boundaries, including the number of service calls, public events, and crime, among other elements. A consultant has been chosen for the work, but isn’t yet under contract. 

“In addition, significant residential, commercial, and transportation developments are underway throughout the City and County of San Francisco, with relatively larger impacts in the southern and eastern corridors of the City,” stated a request for a proposal seeking a consultant on the project. “As a result, in the next decade, residential growth is forecasted to grow from 800,000 people to one million people, various economic sectors are projected to expand, and vehicular and pedestrian traffic patterns will be affected. Effective and strategic deployment of police resources is crucial to providing public safety under these changing conditions.”

To help determine the new boundaries, the department wants the consultant to employ a data-driven analysis. Specific department objectives include achieving workload parity among police districts, minimizing response times, keeping neighborhoods or areas with constructed or natural boundaries in the same district, adjusting for the district’s operating needs, aligning districts with political boundaries, if possible, and aligning boundaries with police department resources. In addition to analyzing data, the consultant will consider comments by police officers in proposing new boundaries. After the consultant completes its report, the public will have 90 days to comment on it. 

SFPD’s Captain Steve Balma, who is heading the project, said the department is considering making boundary changes in steps. The first step may be moving the Southern Station boundary as little as possible to include the new public safety building. Then additional time can be spent examining the need for other alterations. Section 2A.86 of the San Francisco Administrative Code requires the Police Commission to review police district boundaries and make necessary adjustments not less than once every ten years. 

A captain heads each of the police department’s 10 geographic districts. Each district is organized into patrol sectors, which consist of plots averaging 10 square blocks in size. The department has about 2,154 sworn officers and 426 civilian employees, with a fiscal year 2013 budget of $526,936,867. In 2012, the SFPD responded to 281,704 emergency and 1,042,735 non-emergency calls for service. It reported 5,874 violent crimes and 40,038 property crimes to the Department of Justice.

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