SAN DIEGO - Former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher's bid to be San Diego's next mayor picked up the endorsement of the San Diego Police Officers Association Thursday.
The organization that represents the city's police officers backed Fletcher because he was committed to addressing the San Diego Police Department's officer shortage. Fletcher also garnered its support last year.
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Earlier this month, Fletcher unveiled a plan to address the police department's staffing problems that called for increasing officers' pay by lowering out-of-pocket healthcare costs; establishing a mentoring program for academy recruits; training officers to act as recruiters; creating a joint-agency training facility; reestablishing community storefronts; and setting technology and equipment reliability standards.
"Public safety is a basic city service and should be a top priority for any city leader," Fletcher said. "I'm committed to making sure our neighborhoods have adequate patrols and that our officers are properly trained and equipped to protect San Diego's citizens.
"Having served in the Marine Corps, I know how important it is to support the men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day," he said. "When I'm mayor, public safety will be a priority that is second to none."
San Diego Police Officers Association President Brian Marvel said the problems that faced the city demanded strong leadership and the ability to bring people together to solve tough problems. He cited Fletcher's authorship of legislation that improved public safety, including Chelsea's Law, which tightened provisions on sex offenders.
"The public safety crisis that has been long-neglected by our city's leaders demands a solution -- and we believe Nathan is the candidate best equipped to provide it," Marvel said. "Nathan is deeply committed to this city and its future."
A spokesman for City Councilman Kevin Faulconer, a fellow mayoral candidate also vying for the organization's endorsement, said in a response to the endorsement announcement that Faulconer was committed to rebuilding the police department with savings from pension reform and other fiscal reforms he led.
"If voters elect Kevin they will see across-the-board increases in street repairs and other neighborhood services, starting in San Diego's most neglected communities," campaign spokesman Tony Manolatos said. "If they elect anyone else, they will see across-the-board pay and benefit increases at City Hall. Kevin Faulconer is the only candidate committed to reforming government spending and putting San Diegans first."