Photo: Sam Hodgson

My colleague, Kelly Bennett, just gave me a present.

It’s a zarf, according to To many of us, however, it’s a coffee cup sleeve — one of those cardboard things they wrap around your cup of joe in the morning.

This one’s special, however, it’s got a picture of a pretty, smiling female Los Angeles police officer. It’s an ad for the LAPD.

“APPLY NOW!” reads the ad. “Start at $52,638.”

On the back of the carton, the ad lists all the benefits LAPD officers can enjoy, including 15 days of paid vacation and a bilingual bonus. The zarf also states that the LAPD has a minimum age requirement of 20.5 years, and has no maximum age limit.

A report by private consultants released late last year revealed that San Diego pays its officers well below the going rate. San Diego Police Department recruits ranked at the very bottom for take-home pay in the report, and higher ranking officers did not fare much better.

The study found that police recruits in San Diego rank at the absolute bottom — the zero percentile — in take-home pay. Police officer II positions and sergeants, the bulk of the budgeted force, also rank near the bottom, falling in the 6th percentile.

Earlier this year, officers received an across-the-board pay boost of 8 percent. Most officers received an additional 1-percent boost, but recruit pay still falls way below that of the LAPD.

I guess the pay’s not enough in itself to bring sufficient numbers of troops up to Los Angeles from San Diego, however — hence the zarfs.


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