SDPD begins recruitment campaign to reach full staffing by 2020
The San Diego Police Department is embarking on a major campaign to hire more police officers. For the first time, the department in the nation’s eighth largest city is hiring a marketing and advertising firm to help the police force achieve its hiring goals.
We sat down Wednesday with Police Chief David Nisleit who told us his goal is to achieve full staffing levels of more than 2,000 officers by the year 2020. Currently, the department is about 211 officers short of that target.
Although officers’ pay was one of the reasons that San Diego has had problems recruiting and retaining officers, the city’s compensation package is about to improve. As of July 1, police officers will get an 8.3% pay raise, with a series of additional pay hikes, totaling about 25% in the next two years.
Nisleit said the boost in salary will make it easier to recruit new officers. He said there will also be more opportunities for young officers to advance more quickly to specialized assignments as more veteran officers retire or leave the force.
On average, 14 officers leave the SDPD every month. According to Nisleit, 500 officers will be eligible for retirement in the next five years.
An officer must be 21 years old by the time he or she takes the oath and some college experience is preferred. Officers who can speak a second language also qualify for extra pay.
The police chief said an officer in their third or fourth year can make a base pay of almost $100,000. “That’s not with overtime, or holiday pay or shift differential, so you’re going to make over $100,000,” Nisleit said.
The chief said he will look for candidates who reflect the diversity of the San Diego community. “It’s not one size fits all. You know, I’m looking for the athlete, I’m looking for the scientist. I’m looking for the teacher; people that are from all walks of life that come in and bring theiir experiences to the team and make us one big strong unit,” he said.