Monday, March 19, 2007 | For those that stay up with how San Diego is faring when it comes to criminal activity, Mayor Sanders has announced through his press conferences that our city is safe and crime is down. I respectfully disagree. Various divisions on the San Diego Police Department have been dismantled or dissolved. The police officers and detectives assigned to those divisions have been reassigned to patrol divisions. Why? It is quite simple. There are not enough cops in the streets to fight the crime we are up against. Crime statistics have been massaged to reflect numbers so the public will not panic. We are nearing a crisis level of not enough police officers patrolling this city!
The website Sdpoa.org is a website for the San Diego Police Department that updates weekly how many police officers are leaving for different agencies throughout the state for better pay and benefits. Our city officials have not negotiated fairly for the past two years, and SDPD has been working with no contract. The police officers’ take home pay has been cut as much as $1000 a month by the city.
When virtually all of the agencies surrounding this city have a substantial better benefit package and much better pay than this city offers, you cannot blame the police officers for leaving. In the last three weeks alone, the San Diego Police Department lost 20 seasoned officers to other agencies specifically for the reasons stated in the above paragraph. Last week, a brand new police officer, fresh out of the academy received a phone call from a neighboring police department. That department offered this officer a position on their department. The officer accepted and immediately raised his salary by $12,000 annually and received a much better benefit package.
The citizens of this city need to realize when seasoned police officers leave to other agencies, the experience and wealth of information go with them that they paid for with their tax dollars. When brand-new police officers leave after training to take a position by another California Post Agency, citizens of San Diego pay for their training and receive nothing in return. Attrition is a normal process that affects every police department, but not in the magnitude that it is happening with at the San Diego Police Department.
Mayor Sanders his addressed this problem to the public and acknowledges SDPD pay and benefits need to be competitive with agencies in like cities. If you review all of his past press releases, Mayor Sander talks out of both sides of his mouth. I just wonder which side he is talking out of, while SDPD and the city are negotiating for the 2008 contract.
Citizens of San Diego please visit sdpoa.org. This will keep you updated on how many cops are patrolling the city as well as many other important issues affecting this city. If you can find the time, contact your City Council representative and voice your concern about the state of the San Diego Police Department.