As I have been reporting, it’s crunch time for police officers and the city in San Diego.

The San Diego Police Officers Association is currently — as in right this moment — meeting with the city to try and put together a contract. Those negotiations have been continuing since mid-January and they follow two years in which the department and the city reached an impasse on police contracts.

Some police officials predict that another impasse could lead to a loss of 100 police officers before the end of the year. San Diego has been losing an average of 14 police officers a month since July 1, 2006, the beginning of the fiscal year, according to a city report.

I just dug up some stats that can give some context to the current attrition rates.

According to a report one of the union representatives gave me, a yearly average of 13 officers left the SDPD between 2001 and 2004. In April 2006, when officers found out that contract negotiations were going to impasse, there was a midyear jump to 22 officers leaving in the end of Fiscal Year 2005, the report states.

The police department lost 25 officers one month recently.

In Fiscal Year 2006, which ran from July 1, 2005 until June 30, 2006, the report says, the police department lost 76 officers to other departments — more than the previous five years combined. (The 14-officers-a-month number used for this fiscal year counts more than just those leaving for other departments — it includes retirement, layoffs and death as well.

I will be following the negotiations as they continue this week. Look out for an early morning bulletin I will post on this blog tomorrow. The union meets with its members at 5 a.m. tomorrow morning and I will be there to gauge reactions from the officers leaving the early meeting.

WILL CARLESS

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