SAN FRANCISCO - A new plan to help combat San Francisco’s deadly fentanyl epidemic launches Monday with resources from the California Highway Patrol and California National Guard coming into the city to assist local law enforcement, officials announced Friday.
Mayor London Breed outlined the plan during an afternoon press conference, while joined by the police chief, district attorney and other state law enforcement officials.
"We will do everything we can to work together to make sure there is accountability," Breed said. "We need to be innovative to do everything we can to provide all of the resources so we have the capacity to handle a problem of this magnitude."
Governor Gavin Newsom last week announced a plan to commit officers from the CHP and California National Guard, but didn’t expand on how the program would work.
CHP commissioner Sean Duryee on Friday explained that officers from the city field office would be assisting SFPD officers by helping to deter drug dealing in the most visible locations in the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods.
Duryee said his office would also assist in training and investigations. The CHP has 75 officers in San Francisco, but officials would say how many would be hitting city streets for the program.
"The officers that volunteered to come in and work alongside SFPD officers all volunteered," Duryee said. "They’re all from San Francisco. They love the community."
The California National Guard said it won’t be adding boots on the ground, but rather working behind the scenes.
"We can map cartel networks operating both inside the city and outside the city understand those networks, build a common operating procedure and then work to dismantle it," Major Gen. Matt Beevers said.
The new initiative comes as San Francisco continues to reel from a staggering drug overdose crisis. More than 600 people a year have recently died from accidental overdoses in the city – the vast majority from fentanyl.
"This has to stop," Police Chief Bill Scott said. "People are fed up with it. We’re fed up with it. And our attention needs to be on the people who are causing the problems."
Scott welcomed the additional resources, saying the amount of drugs coming into the city is only increasing.
"Our police officers have confiscated 39,000 grams of fentanyl year to date. The conversion -- that’s about 85 pounds of fentanyl. That’s a lot of death and destruction."