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S.D. Police Among Lowest Paid in Region

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

A new report finds San Diego police officers are among the lowest-paid in the region. The city's mayor says he'll find more money to keep officers from leaving the force. KPBS Radio's Andrew Phelps has the story.

 

San Diego ranks last in a study of pay rates for police recruits. A newly sworn officer can't make more than $40,000 a year. Salaries for sergeants and lieutenants in San Diego also rank near the bottom. That's compared to agencies in Los Angeles, Fresno, Phoenix, and about a dozen other places. San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, a former police chief himself, says this is why the city is losing officers to competing agencies.

Sanders: Some officers were suspicious about what this salary survey was going to look like, and I think that some felt -- at least the feedback that I got -- that it was gonna be doctored to make it look better. After reviewing that, I'm sure you’ll agree that we were brutally honest in this assessment.

There are more than 200 vacancies in the department, or about 10 percent of the force. Sanders say he'll negotiate higher wages with the police union in January -- but he won't raise taxes to do it. For KPBS, I'm Andrew Phelps.

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