City Council to raise pay to keep officers at the San Diego Police Department

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – More than 100 police officers have left the San Diego Police Department since July 1, 19 of which for other law enforcement agencies that offer higher pay.

The rate of losing about a dozen officers a month has been the norm, but city officials have made efforts to improve compensation packages.

According to a report presented Wednesday to a City Council committee, the SDPD currently stands at 1,861 officers. The department is budgeted for 2,013 officers, leaving a deficit of 152 employees.

“The numbers are not good,” SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman said. “But 126 officers are currently in the police academy or are going through field training.”

Twenty-seven applicants were given conditional job offers, but also left for higher pay in other agencies.

The City Council attempted to close the gap with nearby law enforcement agencies by offering more equipment and uniform allowances.

The city and San Diego Police Officers Association agreed to a tentative five-year 3.3 percent pay increase in each contract’s last two years.

The deal was approved by 88 percent of the SDPOA.

“It is my belief that with this total compensation package that will take effect on July 1, pending approval by the City Council, it will send a clear message to our current officers and a message to our future officers that the city is committed to hiring the very best to be San Diego police officers, and we are equally committed to keeping our highly trained officers right here at the San Diego Police Department,” Zimmerman said.

City and police leaders have an ultimate goal of returning to the Fiscal Year 2009 staffing level of 2,128 officers. At the current rate of recruiting and retention, it would take 20 years to get there, Zimmerman said.

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