San Diego

Mayor Faulconer's Latest Budget Numbers Don't Add Up for SDPD Officers

San Diego's understaffed police force is taking strong exception to Mayor Kevin Faulconer's latest proposed budget.

They warn it doesn't address their "most critical" need -- more officers on the streets.

The rank-and-file say their daily patrol numbers are "worsening", all too often, falling below the department's minimum staffing to maintain prescribed response times for all but the highest level dispatches.

The San Diego Police Officers Association was hoping for an extra $2 million in overtime as a short-term "stopgap" measure.

But that wish wasn't granted.

Instead, the mayor's revised budget, released Tuesday, calls for a 10 percent cut from last fiscal year's overtime reserve.

It does set aside $150,000 for a "recruitment and retention" study -- which the SDPOA says is fine, but doesn't address the immediate crisis of a shrinking patrol force.

They point out the department only attracted 129 of the 172 qualified officer candidates the top brass was looking for, to put through the academy this year.

And the projected loss of veteran officers is 156.

They say the failure to reliably meet minimum daily staffing numbers is proof of a disconnect at city hall.

"It's clearly shown in the last five years that recruiting is not going to get us out of the current situation,” said SDPOA president Brian Marvel in an interview with NBC 7. “We need to get back up to those numbers that we had prior to 2009, which was 2,127. And you know, we're only at 1,850."

The mayor is putting $100,000 into the department’s budget to underwrite a nationwide "executive search" for a new police chief.

The current chief, Shelley Zimmerman, will retire next year.

In 2014 she replaced her predecessor, Bill Lansdowne, without a nationwide search.

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