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I had a long conversation today with Detective Gary Lawrence, the police officer I referenced in the column this week. I agreed that I should have better taken into account the toll the city’s turmoil has had on people like him. The police officers, after all, haven’t had a contract with the city for two years.
You’ll remember I argued in my column that Lawrence and his colleagues should think twice before transferring to places like Chula Vista. And I wrote that it was misleading to say people like him were left with “little choice” to leave as the U-T had written.
He said his difficult decision to leave the city was a complex decision. I’ll let him tell it:
I wouldn’t leave a 21-year career here because of $5,000. It was a lot of little reasons added up. The way I look at it, Chula Vista is on the rise. Either I stay here and have a lot of uncertainty, or I can go to Chula Vista where I have a little more idea of what I’m going to have in the future. Its long term stress – I’m not good at handling uncertainty.”
Lawrence said he was waiting to hear the mayor’s promised recruitment and retention plan for police officers before he decided to try to leave San Diego’s police department.
I thought something was going to be in there. I thought for sure something was going to be in there to give us some hope that things were going to change. There wasn’t anything…The longer you’re here the more relationships you have and the stronger your bond becomes with your job. It was hard for me to even put the application in.