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San Diego Explained: SDPD’s Officer Shortage

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 [1] 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 [2].

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.