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San Diego Police Union, City Reach Deal On Pay Raises

A San Diego police officer with a police dog waits outside a house with a pos...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: A San Diego police officer with a police dog waits outside a house with a possible suspect inside Friday, July 29, 2016.

San Diego Police Union, City Reach Deal On Pay Raises

GUEST:

Kevin Faulconer, mayor, City of San Diego

Transcript

Public records suggest San Diego City Councilman Chris Cate used his personal email account when sending a confidential memo to the proponents of the Soccer City stadium initiative. The councilman's office redacted Cate's email address but did not redact addresses and phone numbers belonging to dozens of constituents.

A tentative contract designed to stem the flow of experienced officers from the San Diego Police Department to other law enforcement agencies includes raises of up to 30.6 percent for some personnel, city officials said Wednesday.

The two-year agreement between the San Diego Police Officers Association, the union representing the department's officers, and the city was announced Tuesday night by Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Officers have been leaving the department at a rate of 12 or 13 a month for several years, with some simply retiring but many seeking better pay in neighboring cities or with the Sheriff's Department.

The deal is estimated to cost some $66 million — money Faulconer said was worth spending.

RELATED: San Diego Police Officers Get Bump In Uniform Allowance

"It's a significant investment in taxpayer dollars, but public safety is our number one priority," Faulconer said.

It is still unclear how the raises for the police will be paid for. The city's independent budget analyst has warned of budget deficits in the coming years that already threaten things like library hours, tree trimming and funding for the arts.

If ratified by the SDPOA membership and approved by the City Council, the deal would give officers an 8.3 percent pay increase in each of the next two years, of which 3.3 percent in each year were part of the previous contract. Another 5 percent raise would take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Also, officers with 20 or more years of sworn service in law enforcement would receive an additional 5 percent raise on July 1, 2019. A 4 percent hike would be provided to all officers on the same date in exchange for negotiated changes to certain flexible health benefits.

RELATED: San Diego Police Chief Search Wraps Up Community Forums

SDPOA President Brian Marvel said the deal will help recruit new officers and bring in experienced personnel from competing agencies.

"By employing a new strategy with regard to SDPD recruitment and retention, one based on competitive compensation, the city is sending the right message to our experienced officers, catching the eye of the quality laterals and recruits we want to attract, and giving taxpayers more value for their tax dollars," Marvel said.

The SDPD currently employs 239 fewer officers than the budgeted level, with many of those on the force being in academies or in field training.

Beyond the sheer numbers of losses in the SDPD ranks, city officials have been worried about the loss of experienced personnel to lead the younger cops.

About one-third of older officers are eligible to retire over the next five years, according to Chief Shelley Zimmerman.

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