WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: In new partnership with the City of San Francisco, Governor Newsom is directing California Highway Patrol and California National Guard to identify personnel and resources to assist the city in combatting fentanyl trafficking — strengthening law enforcement presence and public safety.
SAN FRANCISCO — Today Governor Gavin Newsom announced an agreement between the California Highway Patrol (CHP), California National Guard (CalGuard), San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office (SFDA) to assist the city in its ongoing efforts to address the fentanyl crisis. This agreement will lead to the formation of a new collaborative operation between all four agencies focused on dismantling fentanyl trafficking and disrupting the supply of the deadly drug in the city by holding the operators of large-scale drug trafficking operations accountable.
“Two truths can co-exist at the same time: San Francisco’s violent crime rate is below comparably sized cities like Jacksonville and Fort Worth — and there is also more we must do to address public safety concerns, especially the fentanyl crisis,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “We’re taking action. Through this new collaborative partnership, we are providing more law enforcement resources and personnel to crack down on crime linked to the fentanyl crisis, holding the poison peddlers accountable, and increasing law enforcement presence to improve public safety and public confidence in San Francisco.”
“I want to thank Governor Newsom for this critical support to help break up the open-air drug dealing happening in our city,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. “Our Police Department and District Attorney have been partnering to tackle this issue and increase enforcement, but our local agencies can use more support. With the Governor’s leadership and clear direction, our state enforcement agencies can partner with us to make a difference for our residents, businesses, and workers who are living with the impacts every day.”
“The CHP has a shared interest in ensuring our communities feel safe, and we are committed to collaborating with our law enforcement partners to enhance public safety,” said CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee. “The CHP will be allocating additional resources for high-visibility traffic enforcement within the city of San Francisco, with a focus on reducing the trafficking of illegal drugs and the number of impaired drivers. The CHP remains dedicated to addressing the fentanyl crisis, and Governor Newsom’s public safety partnership plan will allow us to do our part in improving public safety and community trust.”
“The CalGuard is seeing significant success supporting multiagency task forces interdicting fentanyl across our state,” said Major General Matthew P. Beevers of the California National Guard. “We expect to achieve the same success working with our partners in San Francisco.”
“The San Francisco Police Department has been working hard to stop drug trafficking by making countless arrests and narcotics seizures,” said San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott. “Despite our ongoing work and close collaboration with the District Attorney, the fentanyl crisis has contributed to hundreds of drug overdose-related deaths. We welcome the support of our state partners because when we work together we can make a significant difference to make our city safer.”
“I am grateful to Governor Newsom for his leadership and commitment to providing new resources for us to address open-air drug dealing and improve public safety in our city,” said San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. “The new resources from the state will improve our ability to fight crime and prosecute suspected drug dealers and traffickers making our communities safer for residents and businesses.”
As part of this agreement, the Governor has directed CHP to identify ways to assist SFPD, including through the assignment of CHP personnel and resources to assist local law enforcement in combatting the fentanyl crisis through technical assistance, training, and drug trafficking enforcement within key areas of the city, including the Tenderloin. Additionally, the Governor has directed CalGuard to identify specialist personnel and resources to support analysis of drug trafficking operations, with a particular focus on disrupting and dismantling fentanyl trafficking rings. Following the identification of personnel and resources, a multiagency operation will launch.
Today’s partnership will not seek to criminalize those struggling with substance use and instead focus on holding drug suppliers and traffickers accountable. San Francisco has seen an alarming rise in fentanyl-linked deaths, with a more than 40% jump in overdose deaths from January through March of this year alone. Fentanyl-linked deaths have largely been concentrated in or near the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods of the city. According to one recent analysis of large urban U.S. cities and counties by the San Francisco Chronicle, of the places examined, San Francisco had the second-highest overdose rate in the nation along with the second-highest death rate from fentanyl overdose in 2020.
Governor Newsom’s top priority is protecting the safety, health, and well-being of all Californians. Since he took office in 2019, California has made critical investments to improve public safety and quality of life across California, including in San Francisco, through targeted efforts to reduce gun violence, combat organized retail crime, crack down on the fentanyl crisis, and improve access to essential supports, including mental health services and housing. Today’s announcement builds on the Governor’s Master Plan for Tackling the Fentanyl and Opioid Crisis, which includes an expansion of CalGuard-supported operations that last year led to a 594% increase in seized fentanyl and historic levels of funding — $1 billion statewide — to crack down on the crisis; new initiatives in support of law enforcement personnel, including investments to improve general officer health and well-being, build resiliency, decrease stress and trauma, and improve community trust and relations; an expansion of the Organized Retail Crime Task Force to bolster local and state law enforcement efforts to address organized retail theft and other crimes, and support affected businesses; new laws, funding, and initiatives to reduce gun violence; and a litany of programs and efforts to address the housing, homelessness, and mental health crisis.