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Cops Keep Quitting; Vacancies Could Double by 2009

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The exodus of cops continues. San Diego's independent budget analyst says 10 percent of the police department is vacant. The police union warns those vacancies could double in two years. KPBS Radio's Andrew Phelps reports.

A rookie cop in National City makes more money than a 20-year veteran in the San Diego Police Department. The city is negotiating pay raises with the police union. Meanwhile, officers are quitting. There are 222 vacancies. Jeff Jordan, of the Police Officers Association, says San Diego pays to train police cadets -- and then loses them to other cities.

Jordan: For example, I was working the other night when an officer received a phone call from another agency. He was brand new, driving with a training officer. During the course of that conversation with his training officer, an offer was made from La Mesa P-D. He immediately asked his training officer to turn around and bring him back to the station, and he retired on the spot. Went to La Mesa.

If the current rate of attrition continues, Jordan says 20 percent of the force will be vacant in 2009. For KPBS, I'm Andrew Phelps.

(Photo: San Diego Police Headquarters. Full Focus )

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