San Diego City Council plans to boost pay for police officers to help stem an exodus of officers leaving the department in a crisis that has impacted public safety, according to city officials.
The steep pay hikes – between 25 and 30 percent – will help the department recruit new officers and keep more of the 1,801 officers left, the department announced Monday.
The city has 2040 budgeted police officer positions, leaving at least 13 percent unfilled because of a lack of pay, according to the department.
Because of voter-approved Proposition B, police have not received a pensionable pay increase for five years, which has resulted in recruitment and retention problems, as critics of Prop B predicted.
The new contract, approved by the police union, still must be ratified by the City Council. It is predicted to cost about $66.2 million over the two years it is in place.
NBC 7 looked into how much San Diego police officers are currently paid.
The majority of police officers – more than 70 percent – make between $100,000 and $150,000 annually in total pay and benefits.
The numbers are from 2016 payroll data provided by the city to Transparent California.
A spokesman for the Mayor Kevin Faulconer's office confirmed our findings.
The average total pay for all officers employed by the San Diego Police Department is $111,000 a year.
That figure includes overtime and lump-sum payouts, and items like extra pay for special work.
The average base pay, with no overtime or other pay included, is $78,000 a year.
About 1,100 police officers of the 1,801 full-time officers make in the higher salary range of $100,000 a year or more.
About 200 officers make between $90,000 and $100,000 a year, according to the data and confirmed by the city.
About 200 officers make less than $60,000 a year.
It is these officers at the lower end of the pay spectrum that city officials say they are trying to reach with the pay raise.
"This agreement creates the foundation for a strong stable police department by providing the opportunity for SDPD to fill vacant positions, reach it’s staffing goals, reduce response times and provide our residents with the high quality of public safety services they demand and deserve," said POA President Brian Marvel at a news conference Monday.
The city is currently about 239 officers – or 13 percent – short of its staffing goal, but at least another 275 officers are set to retire in the next five years by 2022.
Those 275 officers are in the city’s Deferred Retirement Option Plans, which is a benefit that allows officers to begin drawing on their retirement while remaining employed with the City of San Diego.
It’s a way for the city to retain experienced officers for another five years past their retirement age. However, the catch is they must retire five years after entering the DROP program.
City officials are still working on an estimate on how much the raises will impact the city’s long-term $2.6 billion pension debt.