In 2012, the San Diego Police Department announced its plan to hire more officers within the next five years. The goal was to add 150 officers to its force by 2017.

Yet the department has fewer officers than it did back then.

SDPD has not been able to keep up with the number of officers retiring or leaving to work at other departments.

Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman has offered a few explanations for the problem. She’s said, without providing evidence, that the media’s coverage of controversial police shootings has made fewer people interested in being an officer, and she’s acknowledged that officers in San Diego get lower salaries and worse benefits than those in nearby departments.

The officer shortage has impacted the department’s response times for non-emergency calls.

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.

We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?

    This article relates to: Police, Police Retention, Public Safety, San Diego Explained

    Written by Adriana Heldiz

    Adriana Heldiz is Voice of San Diego’s Assistant Digital Manager. She makes videos and helps manage the organization’s online presence. Adriana can be reached at

    Matty Azure
    Matty Azure subscriber

    We don't need any more cops.

    I'll just do more shootin'.


    Officer Neal Browder

    Joan Lockwood
    Joan Lockwood

    I am a native San Diegan, grandmother and senior citizen and I can speak from experience and 44 calls to Chief Zimmerman at the direction from John Lye in the Mayor's office - and a trip to IA where I was made fun of and seen in a room that is a room where the diagrams for the building  an internal (engineering) office.

    SDPD is as corrupt and protective of their bad apples as any city PD if not more.  My experience is SDPD has an internal problem big time AND Bonnie Dumanis DA investigators not only  shields these officers but colludes and HIRES tem when they a caught OUTRIGHT impersonating a DA special ops officer- Right Det Clark, and DA Greenberg?

    We have a travesty of concerns for the citizens or/and the integrity in San Diego Law Enforcement

    rhylton subscriber

    This video clip plays a commercial and nothing more. That is just as well, for I fear that nothing that it contains can be more persuasive than the Bishop's opinion piece, "SDPD"S Retention Problem Comes From Within".

    I also venture a guess that the known racism of the SDPD serves as a serious dampener to their recruiting efforts; this despite the best efforts of the press to present watered-down versions of reports in that regard. The forgoing statement argues against Zimmerman's main caterwaul.

    Because of fear and a lack of diligence and thoroughness, the local press, Zimmerman's fifth-column ally, has failed to inform the public that San Diego is worse than Ferguson.