California Highway Patrol and California National Guard were recently deployed by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom to address San Francisco’s open-air, rampant drug epidemic.
Newsom announced last month that he was forming a partnership to help local law enforcement agencies combat fentanyl trafficking.
“We’re taking action,” Newsom declared. Through this new collaborative partnership we will provide more law enforcement personnel and resources to crackdown on crime related to the fentanyl crises, hold the poison peddlers responsible, and increase law enforcement presence in San Francisco to improve public security and public confidence.
London Breed, the Democratic Mayor of San Francisco, thanked Governor Brown for his additional support. She said that it would “help stop the open-air drug deals happening in our city.”
The city has only deployed six CHP officers in the Tenderloin district and South Market, and fourteen National Guardsmen who will “analyze support” for local law enforcement, to monitor drug cartels.
Bill Scott, the chief of the San Francisco Police Department, said that he believed the deployment would free up officers’ resources and allow them to patrol streets.
Scott said that the National Guard would not have “boots on ground” or “military gear.”
He said, “They will provide analytical and administrative assistance… this is a partnership that will continue.”
Some people are skeptical about the efforts to clean up the streets.
According to Lt. Tracy McCray of the San Francisco Police Officers Association’s vice president, drug users “don’t give a damn” about the number of police officers patrolling the streets.
McCray blamed city’s drug problem on policies of soft-on crime that allows criminals to return to the streets shortly after arrest.
McCray said, “Right away, I see blocks of San Francisco, where people just use in the open, and no one is telling them ‘Hey you shouldn’t do this’.” “That’s the reason they keep coming back.”
The National Guard and CHP were deployed after several large companies decided to close their San Francisco shops due to widespread drug and shoplifting.
Target San Francisco has increased security by placing more items behind glass security to prevent theft. Whole Foods announced its departure from the city, as did Nordstrom, CVS and Amazon.
According to The San Francisco Chronicle, over 30 businesses have either left or are planning to leave downtown San Francisco.