A lack of San Diego Police Department officers is pushing the City of San Diego to renegotiate their contract with the police union early.
The department's employment numbers are at their lowest since 2000.
Leaders of the San Diego Police Officers Association (SDPOA) say the pay is one of the biggest issues employees are facing.
"Going 10 years without a salary increase has wreaked havoc on our recruiting efforts," said Brian Marvel, director of the SDPOA. He explained there are more sworn officers leaving the department than those that are being hired per year.
Marvel said candidates are being recruited to neighboring cities, and San Diego's city leaders need to realize something has to change.
"In some instances, we are up to 20 percent below what other agencies are making here in the county," Marvel explained.
There are fewer than 1,800 sworn officers in San Diego, something that Reina Martinez believes is a problem.
Martinez works at a hair salon on Highland, near 43rd Street. When she called the police for help responding to a threat at the salon, it took more than an hour for an officer to arrive.
Marvel said issues like this arise because of short staffing.
"Those are lower priority, having an officer show up could take up to two hours or longer," he said.
The City of San Diego will renegotiate a five-year contract with the police union to boost employment numbers.
Marvel said the low number of officers also has to do with veterans taking early retirement.
The city is expected to face another tough budget in Fiscal Year 2018.
The next step is for the SDPOA to set up a meeting with the city to begin negotiating changes.