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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Will S.F. Take Well-Paid Cops Off Street to Shovel Horse Shit?

Posted By on Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 12:01 AM

Will San Francisco make a dubious move?
  • Will San Francisco make a dubious move?
Earlier this month, Matt Murphy was told he'd be laid off from his city job, and likely replaced by a uniformed police officer. Since Murphy already works for the police department, that's not so outlandish an idea. But since his job largely consists of shoveling horse manure and toting hay bales -- it sort of is.

"They were going to have a $90,000 to $100,000 cop doing my job," says Murphy, a city stable attendant since 1985. "And that's two less cops on the street."

Even if your job isn't on the line like Murphy's was, this was an idea that doesn't seem to make much horse sense.

Murphy is optimistic Mayor Gavin Newsom's recent agreement with city unions to opt for 12 furlough days instead of layoffs and rehiring will save his job. But he's confused how the idea to replace him and his three fellow stable attendants with cops earning twice his salary ever gained traction in the first place.

"A lot of these police officers here don't know as much about horses as we do," he says. "We also doctor the horses, administer shots, put on leg wraps. A lot of the police officers here don't know how to do that."

That's because tossing around hay bales, shoveling shit, and doctoring horses isn't generally what cops are best-suited to do while on the job (though San Francisco has more cops doing civilian jobs -- but earning cop salaries -- than just about anywhere).

Unfortunately, a number of mounted cops are already doing Murphy's job; the stable attendant says one of his colleagues is out on disability, forcing several of the officers to assist in "mucking the barn, cleaning out all the stalls, grooming the horses, and taking care of all their daily needs."

That's an interesting way to "protect and serve."

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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