Saturday, July 7, 2007 | Violent Crime is down in San Diego. But so is San Diego Police Department personnel!
Last year during this time we had an unusual amount of murders in San Diego. As the mayor has put it several times, “Crime is cyclic.” I suppose recruiting should be viewed as cyclic as well. I am just wondering when the upturn is going to happen, to reach the goal of 2100 cops that was promised by 2010 by Mayor Sanders.
Gang activity is on the increase in San Diego, which also is an indicator that violent crime is going to follow.
Regardless where we stand at the moment with how many SD citizens have been murdered, raped or violently assaulted, factually speaking our police personnel numbers are diminishing. That means we have less to protect the citizens when crime starts to rise, which it inevitably will.
Our last three police academy classes totaled 67 recruits. We are losing 150 police officers through normal attrition and transfers to other agencies per year. Thirty-five recruits per academy class (four academy classes per year) isn’t cutting it. We will have fewer officers by 2010 than we have now! Let me repeat that: WE WILL HAVE FEWER OFFICERS BY 2010 THAN WE HAVE NOW! Today our numbers are dismal with 1.28 police officers protecting 1,000 San Diegans. Our chief and mayor will argue that point but these are the actual physical numbers, not what is on paper!
Mayor Jerry Sanders and Chief Bill Lansdowne need to have an effective plan to reach their intended goal of 2100 police officers by 2010. As it appears now, their intentions are to keep staffing at our present levels without an increase. That is what our current and projected numbers show, and that is unacceptable.
I think it would be an appropriate request to have Mayor Sanders with Chief Lansdowne hold a press conference to show how they intend to attract new recruits and also laterals to our police department.
Our citizens deserve to know a viable plan to increase our police force is in place. This must be presented to those that are currently employed to give them a reason to stay!
We do not need to have another year go by, and still have those same issues facing us next year. A good sound plan to stop the bleeding and increase our force to a respectable number is the responsibility of our mayor and police chief. Let’s hold them to their promises that they made.