District 7 Supervisor Sean Elsbernd
By Brent Begin
The Board of Supervisors passed a plan today that could make it easier to send police officers from San Francisco International Airport to stations throughout the city.
But both supervisors and police officials said the resolution would do little to change the way officers are currently transferred within the department. Critics also said that with airport security a nationwide priority and with the Police Department’s current staffing shortage, the plan is merely a procedural exercise.
The resolution requires that the department provide detailed requirements for airport security, and that it lays out a plan for deployment in the city under certain circumstances.
Those circumstances include whenever the staffing level in the city drops below the charter-mandated 1,971 officers and at times when there is an increase in crime or violence.
Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said the that dwindling numbers in the department and airport and the needs of a post September 11 world will outweigh any flares of violence.
“I vote for this with very little expectation that anything’s going to become of this,” Elsbernd said.
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who authored the resolution, admitted that the current staffing shortage poses a problem for redeployment of officers, but he said in the future the resolution will provide flexibility and a way to dodge any bureaucratic obstacles.
San Francisco International Airport is situated in an unincorporated patch of San Mateo County. Federal authorities, as well as peninsula law enforcement agencies, all share in the security duties of the airport.
Commander Jim Lynch with the department’s airport bureau said that San Francisco police officers take care of a bulk of that security.
“We really don’t see this as a change,” said Lynch, who has worked at the airport for over 20 years.
Bay City News