San Diego Police officers have been asked to do too much, for too long and with too little.
On this week’s San Diego Explained, Voice of San Diego’s Andrew Keatts and NBC 7’s Monica Dean dig into why the San Diego Police Department has an officer shortage and what it means for people who live here.
An understaffed SDPD has been forced to make tough decisions with limited resources. Officers still respond to emergencies ahead of the department’s goal, but the department is failing to meet its own standards with every other type of call that comes in.
If officers felt respected and honored by their leaders and the communities they serve, their jobs would be easier, making retention more feasible. That won’t happen until the culture and practices are changed within the SDPD.
There may not be one single explanation for SDPD’s failure to hire enough officers, but there is one reason Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman keeps returning to: scrutiny from the media. It’s an argument she’s made many times – and one for which she’s consistently declined to provide evidence.
A wave of SDPD retirements is expected soon, so cops are passing around a plan that would let some of them stick around. It would stave off the chief’s forced retirement too.
The department has moved on to talking about officer pay and retention. But a long-awaited federal report on SDPD policies is due in January.
City officials plan to dole out millions to police officers who’ve long complained about their paltry paychecks. They might get the most bang for their bucks if they give a big chunk of the money to veteran officers who are easy targets to get hired away by the Sheriff’s Department.
The vice president of San Diego Police Officers Association claimed veteran San Diego officers could make almost $18,000 more working for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
San Diego police and District 6 City Council candidates say the department has sunk $190,000 in each departing officer, a figure we’ve fact checked before and found some problems with.