In the fierce battle among Bay Area Cities to recruit and retain police officers, the city of San Mateo is putting its money where its mouth is.
City leaders are betting that half a million dollars worth of overnight accommodations will give them a leg up on the competition.
The city is putting in a police substation and adding more to it.
Around the back of the substation, they’ll have 12 beds and showers so San Mateo officers, most of whom don’t live in the county, can get some rest when they have a short turnaround.
The $500,000 project would be a welcome sight for weary San Mateo officers, who work four days on then four days off. Those workdays are at least 11 1/2 hours.
"It will certainly make it easier for the officers and make it easier for us to recruit and to retain officers after a 12-15 hour shift to stay here," San Mateo Mayor Diane Papan said.
Two out of three officers in the San Mateo department don’t live in San Mateo County. And 15 % don’t even live in the Bay Area. Some are from counties such as San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Sacramento and even San Bernardino. The issue isn’t just convenience. It’s safety.
"It’s dangerous for us to get back on the roads and go back home and have to come back a few hours later," Officer Michael Hoabsh said.
Some officers have been sleeping in their cars at the police station or couch surfing with friends.
Haobsh lives in San Francisco, not far in miles from San Mateo, but the round trip can tack on two to two and a half hours to his day.
"The fact that I can use this facility, it’s going to improve my quality of life, it’s going to keep my me here working for the city of San Mateo, which is an incredible place to work," Hoabsh said.
Currently, San Mateo PD has eight bunk beds, four for men and four for women, but they’re located between the noisy gym and locker room. The new quiet place opens in January.