Tuesday, June 18, 2013
San Diego has lost 300 police officers in the past decade. Now, city politicians are jockeying to bring those numbers back up.
San Diego is hemorrhaging police officers. Four conservative members of the City Council on Tuesday held a press conference to call for an end to the bleeding.
Council members Kevin Faulconer, Mark Kersey, Lorie Zapf and Scott Sherman asked for the issue be put on the Budget and Finance Committee in July so a $2 million budget item can be put to use immediately.
The money may go to help officers buy uniforms and equipment in response to complaints that too many officers are paying out of pocket for basic supplies.
San Diego has always had a lean police department, but City Council members said its unacceptable that the city is next to last in officers per capita among America's largest 20 cities.
To break that down, San Diego has 14.2 officers for each 10,000 residents, and the problem is getting worse. In the past decade, the San Diego Police Department lost 300 officers, and about half of the force will be eligible for retirement in the next four years.
Faulconer said San Diego needs more officers and, he said, we need them now.
"Our message here is very clear: we cannot wait months because we are losing officers every month," he told reporters. "The budget was just passed a couple of weeks ago. We want to have this on the books by next month."
He said one problem is that other departments and law enforcement agencies are poaching police from San Diego with signing bonuses.