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City Council Conservatives Call To Retain Cops

Aired 6/18/13 on KPBS News.

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.

Police in riot gear break up Occupy San Diego protesters at the San Diego Civic Center Plaza on Oct. 28, 2011.
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Above: Police in riot gear break up Occupy San Diego protesters at the San Diego Civic Center Plaza on Oct. 28, 2011.

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.

Comments

Avatar for user 'glennyounger'

glennyounger | June 19, 2013 at 7:18 p.m. ― 10 months ago

Before we start spending more on payroll and benefits:
Let's make sure we are keeping the officers we train. Time for a employment contract for new hires so that they stay around for while.

Let's ask the question; Do we need more officers than other cities? What problem does more police offices solve? Our crime rate is already lower than most large cities.

Also; the scare tactic that over about half of the force will be eligible for retirement in the next four years is a result of few dynamics;
1) retirement at an unusually early age
2) retirement at an unusually high rate of pay
Change either one of these and the retirement caused shortage issue goes away.

I'd like us to look a little more globally at this issue before we start throwing money around.

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Avatar for user 'MommaMia'

MommaMia | June 20, 2013 at 8:17 a.m. ― 10 months ago

Law enforcement should be provided by the county not individual cities. Training and standards would be uniform, with one salary and pension schedule. This would stabilize all the law enforcement organizations and eliminate the city-jumping that now occurs.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 20, 2013 at 8:54 a.m. ― 10 months ago

People, including cops, go to work to earn a check. Only a fool would not go to the highest paying job they would get. The solution is simple: If you want them to stay, pay them more.

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