By Scott Sherman
To stem the flow of departing police officers and keep San Diego neighborhoods safe, the city government and the San Diego Police Officers Association came to an agreement that will make officer salaries more competitive compared to other regional law enforcement agencies.
In recent years, San Diego has faced a police officer recruitment and retention crisis as many officers retired and others went to competing agencies offering better pay. In fact, the number of police officers has dropped to under 1,800. Staff numbers should be over 2,100.
Before the deal was made, the starting salary for an SDPD officer was $49,428. Compare that to $54,564 for Escondido police, $56,240 for San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies, $71,195 for Carlsbad police and $75,322 for Chula Vista police.
The new contract will now enable the police department to retain experienced officers, attract lateral transfers and recruits the department desperately needs.
The agreement calls for pay increases as follows:
July 1, 2018: 8.3 percent increase (3.3 percent of which was previously approved)
Jan. 1, 2019: 5 percent increase
July 1, 2019: 3.3 percent increase (previously approved)
Jan. 1, 2020: 5 percent increase
The agreement also includes additional increases for officers as follows:
July 1, 2019: 5 percent increase for officers with 20 or more years of sworn service in law enforcement
July 1, 2019: 4 percent increase for all officers in exchange for negotiated changes to certain flexible health benefits.
If approved, officers would receive cumulative increases totaling 25.6 percent to 30.6 percent over the two-year agreement, depending on years of service and future negotiations on flexible benefits.
Our city is blessed to have one of the finest police forces in the state. This deal will help make it even better.
— San Diego City Councilmember Scott Sherman represents the District 7 neighborhoods of Mission Valley, Grantville, Allied Gardens, Del Cerro and San Carlos.