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San Diego Police Department Asking For Budget Increase

Aired 7/19/12 on KPBS News.

The San Diego Police Department wants $11.6 million annually through fiscal year 2018 to restore services lost to budget cuts during the city's financial crisis, according to a report scheduled to be presented today to the City Council's Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee.

The San Diego Police Department wants $11.6 million annually through fiscal year 2018 to restore services lost to budget cuts during the city's financial crisis, according to a report scheduled to be presented today to the City Council's Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee.

A San Diego police car sits outside of a house Bay Terraces where a family of four was found dead in and around the house on May 24, 2011.
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Above: A San Diego police car sits outside of a house Bay Terraces where a family of four was found dead in and around the house on May 24, 2011.

Police Chief William Lansdowne said the department has tried to be more efficient. But he said years of budget cuts have brought the department to a tipping point.

"For the first time in several years we’re seeing a disturbing increase in the level of crime in the city of San Diego," he said. "And we’re also beginning to experience again officers leaving the San Diego Police Department and making other choices."

The funding would allow the SDPD to hire 158 sworn officers and 100 civilian staff, purchase vehicles and equipment, replace outdated gear, restore a dozen canine teams and add three more, and allow the patrol helicopter to fly more, according to the report.

An extra $8 million would be required in fiscal year 2017 to pay for a new computer-aided dispatch system.

Document

Police Department Five-Year Plan

Police Department Five-Year Plan

The S.D.P.D. five-year plan.

The benefits of the restorations would include faster response times, more proactive crime-fighting by officers and a reduction of overtime expenses, according to the department report.

The report shows that SDPD had 1,969 budgeted positions for officers in the recently completed fiscal year, compared to 2,108 in 2007. However, there were only 1,821 officers actually on the force, compared to 1,912 five years ago.

The SDPD reported that it is unable to keep up with the high rate of officers leaving for other law enforcement agencies, even with four academies scheduled in the current fiscal year.

The report notes that violent crime is up by 12.6 percent in the first five months of 2012 in San Diego, a city of more than 1.3 million inhabitants, compared to last year. There was one less homicide in San Diego between January and May of this year compared to the same time in 2011, but crimes like rape, robbery and aggravated assault are each up by double-digit percentages.

Jeff Jordan is Vice President of the San Diego Police Officers Association. He said he appreciates that city leaders tried to spare public safety during budget cuts. But he said San Diego must now make restoring the department a priority.

"I didn't come here to say I told you so. But the decline in public safety we warned about is now laid bare in these crime statistics," he said.

In the first five months of this year, there have been 20 homicides, 147 rapes, 623 robberies and 1,491 aggravated assaults in the city of San Diego.

Comments

Avatar for user 'pleadingthefirst'

pleadingthefirst | July 19, 2012 at 6:56 a.m. ― 2 years, 2 months ago

"Police Chief William Lansdowne said the department has tried to be more efficient. But he said years of budget cuts have brought the department to a tipping point."

And yet, the Policy Chief authorized expenditures of $2.4 million last year on the Occupy movement at Civic Center. Meanwhile, I worked in the area and saw dozens of officers standing around for months guarding peaceful protesters. This was certainly not a judicious use of police resources, contrary to the claims of Police Chief Landsdowne.

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | July 20, 2012 at 8:58 a.m. ― 2 years, 2 months ago

Sorry! We don't have the money to raise taxes for the police budget. We're already spending more than we've got for your pensions that remain untouched. Perhaps if the PD controls pension-spiking, overtime, and agrees to switching to 401k style retirement plans the money can be better dispersed?

Or perhaps if we switch current employment in fire and police dept's to an enlistment like we do the military. This way everyone on the force is on salary and overtime won't be an issue.

Learn to work with what you've got or leave the force. We'll find someone else.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 20, 2012 at 10:39 a.m. ― 2 years, 2 months ago

Now if CDM gets elected, is this money withdrawn?

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