SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— San Francisco’s new budget proposes replacing sworn police and sheriff’s deputies with private security guards at San Francisco General Hospital. This is the third year in a row that the Mayor’s office has tried to privatize hospital security. On Friday some administrators, doctors and nurses from SF General told the supervisors’ budget committee they support the plan as a way to improve the safety of patients, staff and visitors. But not everyone agreed.

“I personally enjoy and value working with the outstanding officers that currently staff the hospital,” said hospital psychiatrist Dr. Mark Leary. Leary added legal mandates have changed so that they can no longer restrain or detain patients unless they have a court order or if there is criminal activity. Leary said that puts everyone at risk.

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Institutional police dismiss the notion that private security guards would do a better job.

“There is no highly trained contract security force that’s going to put their hands on a 5250 or 5150 [codes for involuntary psychiatric hold],” said one officer.

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KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

The hospital needs to reduce spending and said it can save $4 million by contracting out. The supervisors are under pressure from the unions to maintain the status quo and the budget committee is expected to decide next week which way to go.

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