Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Monday, January 4, 2010

Who Likes Cops? Survey Claims Police-for-Hire More Popular than SFPD

Posted By on Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 4:59 PM

A survey conducted by a San Jose State professor indicates that many customers of the Patrol Special Police, a quasi-public security service whose officers have been walking the streets of San Francisco since the days of the Gold Rush, prefer the specials to their counterparts in the San Francisco Police Department.

click to enlarge Who shall serve and protect?
  • Who shall serve and protect?

The survey, conducted by economics professor Edward Stringham, reveals that many who hire the Specials do so because of what they perceive as a slow response time and lack of emphasis on community policing from the SFPD. "The main thing that I learned from this that was really a common theme is that the SFPD does not have the time or the resources to respond in a quick way to a lot of concerns," Stringham said in a telephone interview from Hartford, Conn., where he is currently a visiting professor at Trinity College.

Stringham said that he sent a printed questionnaire to 146 customers of the Patrol Specials, and received 53 responses. "I just wanted to get an idea of why people would spend more money on a Patrol Special Police when they could rely on the government police for free," he said. Those who responded praised the specials for their familiarity with specific neighborhoods and overall responsiveness to concerns about specific types of crimes. Stringham said he plans to incorporate the survey results in an academic paper on how the specials operate in San Francisco.

These results should perhaps be taken with a grain of salt: Stringham acknowledges that the Patrol Special Police provided "a few thousand dollars" in funding to support his research, and the professor is past president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education, which advances research in support of various free-market ideas. Still, the study could provide some ammunition for the Specials in their ongoing turf war with the SFPD over private security details.

Photo   |   Johan.V.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

About The Author

Peter Jamison


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • U2 @ SAP Center in San Jose
    Last night U2 performed the first U.S. date of it’s Innocence + Experience tour at SAP Center in San Jose. All four band members were present despite recent injuries sustained by both Bono and Edge. The sold out show took audience members on a walk down memory lane as the band revisited their roots. The innovative stage and lighting used gave the arena show an intimate feel, and engaged audience members in all sections of the venue. Photographs by Sugarwolf.
  • Bay to Breakers 2015 - NSFW
    The 103rd annual Bay to Breakers 12K race was packed on Sunday despite the cold weather. With a starting point a few blocks from The Embarcadero, people dressed as bananas, Elvis and everything in between ran west through the city and finished at the Great Highway where breakers crash onto Ocean Beach.

    Photographs by Christopher Victorio.