A tentative contract designed to stem the flow of experienced officers from the San Diego Police Department to other law enforcement agencies includes raises totaling 30.6 percent over three years for some personnel, city officials said Wednesday.
The two-year agreement between the San Diego Police Officers Association, the union representing the department’s officers, and the city was announced Tuesday night by Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
Officers have been leaving the department at a rate of 12 or 13 a month for several years, with some simply retiring but many seeking better take home pay in neighboring cities or with the Sheriff’s Department.
A highly touted five-year deal with the SDPOA two years failed to change matters.
“This landmark investment into our police force will help ensure San Diego stays one of the safest big cities in America for decades to come,” Faulconer said.
If ratified by the SDPOA membership and approved by the City Council, officers would receive an 8.3 percent pay increase in each of the next two years, of which 3.3 percent in each year were part of the previous contract. Another 5 percent raise would take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
Also, officers with 20 or more years of sworn service in law enforcement would receive an additional 5 percent raise on July 1, 2019. A 4 percent hike would be provided to all officers on the same date in exchange for negotiated changes to certain flexible health benefits.
“This is a fair agreement that makes San Diego officers’ salaries highly competitive and encourages veteran officers to stay and grow within SDPD,” the mayor said. “San Diego has the best police department in the nation, and now every current officer and prospective recruit has great new reasons to choose SDPD.”
SDPOA President Brian Marvel said the deal will help recruit new officers and bring in experienced personnel from competing agencies.
“By employing a new strategy with regard to SDPD recruitment and retention, one based on competitive compensation, the city is sending the right message to our experienced officers, catching the eye of the quality laterals and recruits we want to attract, and giving taxpayers more value for their tax dollars,” Marvel said.
In August, the SDPD employed 239 fewer officers than the budgeted level, with many of those on the force being in academies or in field training.
Beyond the sheer numbers of losses in the SDPD ranks, city officials have been worried about the loss of experienced personnel to lead the younger cops.
About one-third of older officers are eligible to retire over the next five years, according to Chief Shelley Zimmerman.
—City News Service
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