About two weeks after Mayor Breed’s declaration about arresting people who are high, Supervisor Matt Dorsey says that a few people have been arrested, but admits there’s no visible difference in street conditions.
We are currently one month into Gavin Newsom’s campaign to bring the California Highway Patrol into the Tenderloin in hopes of stamping out the fentanyl trade on that neighborhood’s streets. Additionally, it’s been two weeks since Mayor Breed’ referenced a plan to arrest people who seem high on drugs, though there’s been little detail about that plan that has stirred up controversy.
On Sunday, KGO ran a walking interview with District 6 supervisor Matt Dorsey, to check in on whether these efforts were making any difference in the Tenderloin, or in the South of Market area that Dorsey represents. And KGO reports that “The supervisor confirmed that SFPD arrested 16 people using drugs in the past week for public intoxication.”
Dorsey defended the strategy in the interview. "I think it is an approach that I will support, so long as we're making an intervention that's more than just jail," he told the station.
But has anything actually changed with the Highway Patrol officers and the new aggressive arresting strategy? Dorsey admits it probably has not.
“You know, I would say not really,” he said in the interview. “We're in a situation right now where we're seeing a level of drug use and drug dealing that's unprecedented."
We also learn in this interview that only six California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers have been dispatched to San Francisco streets for this fentanyl crackdown, which indicates this is not much of a crackdown. Dorsey does note that the CHP may be sending more officers at some point. But he also describes their role as “lending some support in a uniformed presence,” which sounds like a pretty passive strategy. Though Dorsey is still a believer, because he feels this lightens the burden on an understaffed SFPD.
Image: NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22: A Used needle is seen on the street during a city sweep of a homeless encampment, September 22, 2022 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)