San Francisco police spread thin amid staffing shortages

Amid police staffing shortages, San Franciscans are experiencing longer wait times for police response after calling 911.
Amid police staffing shortages, San Franciscans are experiencing longer wait times for police response after calling 911. Photo credit Getty Images

Amid police staffing shortages, San Franciscans are experiencing longer wait times for a police response after calling 911.

The San Francisco Police Department is currently short hundreds of employees, in part due to the city's vaccine mandate, but mostly due to an ongoing budget cuts issue that dates back decades.

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Police use an A-B-C tiered system to respond to crime, Chief Bill Scott told KCBS Radio. Due to this system, and lack of officers, victims of crimes deemed lower priority may be left waiting hours for an officer to respond to the scene.

"Say somebody is getting robbed and you observe and you call, that's going to be 'A' priority call, which could be a response up to lights and sirens which we call code three," Scott said.

"B" priority calls warrant a wait time of 20 minutes or more while "C" priority calls, which don't require an immediate response, can see wait times of up to two hours.

Police have to prioritize because they can’t be everywhere at once, the Chief explained, but he acknowledged that this can be aggravating for San Franciscans.

"If you call us for a response for something that is important to you, but in the big scheme of things is a low-priority, it can be frustrating for people to wait 45 minutes to an hour, sometimes two hours," he said.

The police department is currently short more than 400 officers.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images