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I have big shoes to fill for the next two days. I knew there was a reason I should not have come at the end of Scott’s vacation.

I’ll try and make my postings brief and informational – not the tomes that Pat seemed to think every graduate student in San Diego would enjoy reading (kidding Pat – well, not really). I’ll also try to make my postings a little more conversational so that they resemble, well … a blog.

So, here’s the first one and as Scott Lewis would say, it’s a “scooplet” for the blog: Mayor Jerry Sanders will announce this morning that crime is down by 2.9 percent during the first six months of 2006 in the city of San Diego. Our residents were half as likely to be victims of violent crime in 2006 than in 1996. Violent crime is down now for 3 years in a row. Click here to go to a fact sheet on the issue.

San Diego continues to be one of the safest large cities in the United States in spite of the fact that it is protected by one of the smallest police forces. What accounts for this? The answer is simple: the community policing efforts launched by then-Chief Sanders have worked. San Diego residents respect and trust our officers.

No mention of this issue would be complete without a discussion of recruitment and retention efforts being made by the mayor. There’s no doubt we have a shortage of officers. It’s a complicated issue with a lot of origins – it’s not all about wages and benefits as the police union would like us to believe. But the fact is that the Mayor is doing something about it.

The recruitment and retention plan that the City Council unanimously passed a few weeks back will begin to addressed these issues. Jerry has also promised to complete a salary and benefits study that will be the basis for the negotiations with the police union early next year. Our officers deserve to be fairly compensated and Jerry has promised that this will be the case.

Lastly, the Mayor has asked our officers to stay. He has told them that he values their service and their dedication and that they are the reason for our success.

This morning, the mayor will also recognize Sgt. Patti Clayton, the police officer that delivered a baby on the streets of San Ysidro just a few days ago. Sgt. Clayton’s efforts are the reason why our police officers are trusted – and the reason why the stats are as low as they are.

More to come …

FRED SAINZ

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