Although San Diego police officers aren’t allowed to talk to the media without the prior consent of their chief, that obviously hasn’t stopped some officers writing letters.
I just came across a letter to American Police Beat magazine, which bills itself as “The voice of the national law enforcement community.” The letter is from Matt Dobbs, an SDPD officer. Here it is in full:
Media Blames The Police
by Matt Dobbs
Recently our hometown newspaper wrote an editorial with their theories about why officers are leaving the San Diego Police Department.
The newspaper said greedy officers and the POA were responsible for these problems. They placed much of the blame on “lavish retirements” afforded police officers and they criticized the reduction of the retirement age to 50.
I was astounded as I read this blatant piece of yellow journalism.
The writers certainly took plenty of liberty in terms of making stuff up to further their anti-cop agenda.
The editorial staff seems to think they can blame the increasingly dwindling police protection for area residents on the cops.
In reality, it was the reckless fiscal policies of the city council that got us into this mess, and no matter how much they try and pass the buck, it’s that same crowd that will have to pick up the ball if the situation is to improve. …
The real reason officers are leaving is to take care of their families. We all know we are not going to get rich being cops, but in the past two years we have taken almost a seven percent pay cut to make up for the city’s underfunding of the pension system.
The cost of our insurance has gone up an average of 15 percent a year for officers, but there’s been no increase in the city’s portion.
Other law enforcement agencies are offering generous signing bonuses to San Diego cops to come to their cities.
Since July 2004 we have lost over 100 experienced officers and more are sure to follow, especially now that the new compensation (salary and benefits) packages are out.
An officer leaving our agency for another that pays them the same hourly wage but pays their retirement and medical would make at least $10,000 more a year. In the case of my partner, it’s $20,000.
These are the reasons officers are leaving. We are not greedy and we are not trying to get rich. Rather we are tired of doing more with less with no light at the end of the tunnel.
The fact of the matter is this — when things go wrong with public safety, the media’s natural instinct is to blame underpaid and overworked police officers.
We are tired of doing more with less, as has become customary here. We already risk our lives on the street when we go to work. Why should we risk our future in the stock market as well? It just doesn’t make sense.