San Diego Police parked in the middle of the road to talk to a man yelling in Hillcrest on Dec. 20, 2022.
San Diego Police vehicle in Hillcrest on Dec. 20, 2022. / Photo by Gabriel Schneider for Voice of San Diego

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A staffing shortage at the San Diego Police Department that’s led to increasing response times and overtime payouts appears unlikely to be solved anytime soon.

Our Lisa Halverstadt reports that the department is on track to end the fiscal year with more departures than new hires. 

Meanwhile, city’s independent budget analysts are predicting staffing challenges will continue for years – under a rosy scenario.

Now Police Chief David Nisleit wants the city to hire more civilians to try to take on some duties now handled by police, an acknowledgement that the department needs to try different tacks to address staffing gaps that now regularly lead to overtime payouts.

Read the full story here.

The Learning Curve: Understanding a Chronic Absenteeism Crisis 

People stand in front of Perkins Elementary School in Logan Heights on March 14, 2023.
People stand in front of Perkins Elementary School in Logan Heights on March 14, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Chronic absenteeism has plagued schools in the 92113 ZIP code – which runs from Barrio Logan through Logan Heights to Lincoln Park – for decades. But since the Covid pandemic, the area has had a shocking explosion in the percentage of students chronically absent. 

Education reporter Jakob McWhinney writes in the latest Learning Curve that nearly every school in the ZIP code has rates of chronic absenteeism well above the district average, and some schools have seen a tripling in the number of chronically absent students.

Juan “Wicho” Flores, head counselor at Logan Memorial Educational Campus in Logan Heights, told McWhinney that increase is not surprising. Socioeconomic factors play a huge role, Flores said. Poverty has long been linked to chronic absenteeism, and the 92113 ZIP code has the lowest median income in the county. 

Read the Learning Curve here.

Another Month with More Becoming Homeless than Getting Housed

A homeless encampment in downtown on Nov. 11, 2022.
A homeless encampment in downtown on Nov. 11, 2022. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

For the 11th month in a row, the number of San Diegans who fell into homelessness outpaced the number of people who moved into homes.

Per the Regional Task Force on Homelessness, 1,036 people sought homeless services for the first time in February and 725 people moved into housing.

This is the latest monthly data showing that regional efforts to move people off the street aren’t keeping up with the rush of people falling into homelessness. This month’s data also continues to show that the majority of San Diegans exiting homelessness ended up renting their own units without ongoing aid. 

Meanwhile: A plan to open a new safe parking in Clairemont lot for unhoused people living in vehicles is headed to the City Council next week, City News Service reports. City officials expect to open the new 24-hour lot soon, if approved. 

Elected officials stepping up: City Council members directed the Housing Commission to draw up plans for an ordinance requiring owners of subsidized, rent-restricted properties to give officials ample warning if they decide to sell, the U-T reports. City Council members are also lobbying Mayor Todd Gloria to set aside millions for buying or subsidizing vulnerable units.

Greatest hits: U-T columnist Michael Smolens also looks at the fraught history of trying to house the homeless in our region. Santee officials freaked out last month in the face of a county proposal to build 60 small cabins. 

In Other News 

  • Be safe out there. Beaches in Oceanside and Carlsbad were closed due to sewage spill while closures and advisories remained in effect elsewhere. There were also road closures and flooding in Mission Valley. (City News Service, Fox 5, 10News) 
  • Environmental groups and traditional fishing companies are protesting an experimental fish farm off Mission Bay that still needs federal approval, arguing it’ll be an ecological nightmare. (Times of San Diego) 
  • A cash-strapped charter school’s decision to lay off employees has opened up a slew of questions about its leadership. Some have questioned why the school continues to rely on an out-of-state consultant for administrative duties. (inewsource) 

The Morning Report was written by Lisa Halverstadt, Jakob McWhinney and Jesse Marx. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

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1 Comment

  1. It would be interesting to see how SDPD’s vacancy rates compare to other LE departments in the county and socal.

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