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Public Safety

San Diego Cops, City Reach Tentative Deal to Raise Officers' Pay

San Diego police officers stand in a line revealing a patch on the right shoulder of their uniforms in this undated photo.
Nicholas McVicker
San Diego police officers stand in a line revealing a patch on the right shoulder of their uniforms in this undated photo.

San Diego Cops, City Reach Tentative Deal to Raise Officers' Pay
Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Brian Marvel, president of the San Diego Police Officers Association, will announce Friday morning a tentative agreement between the City of San Diego and the union.

The city of San Diego and the police union have reached a tentative deal to raise the pay for the city's officers.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Brian Marvel, president of the San Diego Police Officers Association, or SDPOA, will announce Friday morning "a tentative agreement between the City of San Diego and SDPOA to help the San Diego Police Department recruit and retain more officers," a release from the mayor's office said.

Deliberations with the city began last fall when a salary survey the city commissioned showed San Diego officers are near or at the bottom of the pay scale compared to 18 other California law enforcement agencies.

The union has complained about low pay for years, and over the summer hosted a series of community meetings to explain the department’s struggles with recruiting and retaining officers. As of Feb. 2, the department has 1,834 sworn officers on staff. That's down from 1,859 in December.

Marvel told KPBS on Thursday that he couldn't discuss specifics of the agreement, but indicated he was pleased with the outcome.

San Diego Police Officers Association President Brian Marvel speaks to KPBS in an interview.
Nicholas McVicker
San Diego Police Officers Association President Brian Marvel speaks to KPBS in an interview.

“We're really at a point where now we're just working on fine-tuning some language and just trying to make sure that we're both on the same page,” Marvel told KPBS in a phone interview.

Under the deal, the city is expected to pick up more of the cops’ expenses so their take-home pay is greater.

On KPBS Midday Edition last week, Mayor Kevin Faulconer said increasing police compensation was his priority not just this year but "literally within the next month."

Marvel said he appreciated that Faulconer delivered on his promise to address the department’s staffing woes. Because the union’s current contract lasts through fiscal 2018, the city wasn't obligated to renegotiate the terms, he said.

"The city didn’t have to reach out to us to do this, but they recognized that we do have a recruiting and retention issue and they wanted to resolve it,” Marvel said.

The City Council members have also said police compensation is one of their top priorities.

Marvel said once a tentative deal is announced, it must be approved by a majority vote of the union’s roughly 1,800 members. The officers will have about a week to review and vote on the proposal. The City Council also has to approve it.

Marvel and Faulconer will be joined by Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and other city leaders, the mayor's office said.

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