San Diego police officers have high expectations, as Bob Filner assumes his role as chief executive of the city.
Filner mentioned in a recent press conference that he would dedicate money from an unrelated legal settlement and give a boost to public safety and many believe it is long overdue.
“This mayor had told them he's going address them in this budget,” said Jeff Jordon from the San Diego Police Officer’s Association. “[Filner’s] signaled that public safety is the highest priority it's welcome news, it's something that these officers have long waited for.”
San Diego's budget problems and the great recession have meant limited funding to the police force for years. The department's staffing levels are well below the national average, 1.5 officers for every 1,000 residents compared to the 2.4 officer-resident national average.
While officers are retiring from the force, the department's been slow to fill the positions. Of the 148 sworn officer positions left unfilled across the County, San Diego accounts for 75 percent of them.
Violent crime has also seen resurgence in San Diego, up 9.5 percent in the first half of 2012 compared to the previous year.
Officers say the news of more funding couldn't have come at a better time.
“They're burnt out, they've been understaffed, and overwhelmed by the demands of the community for so long now,” said Jordon. “They've been waiting for some bright light to get back in there and give them some hope that they're going to get the resources, other officers and equipment that they need.”