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Extra Pay For SDPD Cops May Not Be Enough To Retain Them

Photo by Katie Schoolov

San Diego Police Sgt. Rick Schnell, the leader of the Homeless Outreach Team, greets a homeless man after telling him he needs to move his belongings off of a bridge.

Aired 4/21/14 on KPBS News.

The head of the San Diego police union said officers are happy Mayor Kevin Faulconer included an extra $3.2 million in his proposed budget for police pay, but it may not be enough to keep them from retiring or leaving the department.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer's proposed budget for fiscal 2015 has an extra $3.2 million for police pay. While officers are celebrating that, they aren't convinced yet that the extra money will keep officers from leaving the department.

More than 1,200 officers have left the Police Department since fiscal 2006, and 900 more are eligible to retire in the next four years, according to the San Diego Police Officers Association. That's out of 1,855 officers in the department now.

Brian Marvel, president of the police union, said the added money will partially restore a program that pays officers overtime for working on holidays.

Even so, Marvel isn't sure this pay bump during the fiscal year that begins July 1 will help the department keep officers. Last year, the city gave an extra $2 million for police retention, but he said he still expects the department to lose more officers this year than last year.

"I anticipate our attrition rate for a variety of reasons will be over 130 sworn officers," Marvel wrote in an email. "Last year we lost 119 sworn officers."

While San Diego police officers received raises in 2007 and 2008, they along with all other city employees took a pay cut in 2009. Marvel said the combination of a 1.5 percent pay cut with the trimming of pension payments and health benefits amounted to a 6 percent compensation reduction that year.

Officers received a 2 percent raise this year in a labor agreement that traded pay increases for a freeze on pensionable pay.

Faulconer's proposed budget, which he made public last week, also gives the Police Department's Serial Inebriate Program $120,000 and the Homeless Outreach Team $40,000 as part of a restructuring of homeless funding.

Marvel called Faulconer's budget "a step in the right direction," but said the mayor will have to keep walking the same way to encourage officers to stay.

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Avatar for user 'joemamma42'

joemamma42 | April 19, 2014 at 12:59 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Considering how much SDPD's officers misconduct cost the tax payers in the last few years it doesn't seem right to pay more.

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Avatar for user 'sdreefer21'

sdreefer21 | April 20, 2014 at 10:07 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Pay has nothing to do with a few bad apples not nearly representing the rest of the bunch. The cost of attrition is the issue at hand.

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Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | April 21, 2014 at 10:04 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

I love our cops but wonder if the greedy mentality so common among senior executives is trickling down to the rank and file. If there is a pay raise I think it should be linked to a tax on incomes over $5 million.

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