SAN DIEGO - San Diego is struggling to beef up its police department.
Nearly half the force is eligible to retire in the next four years at a time when recruits are leaving for other agencies that offer better pay and perks.
"We are constantly having to downsize our department where we don't send officers out sometimes to investigate certain types of crimes," explained San Diego police Sgt. Jeff Jordon, who is with the San Diego Police Officers Association. "We've hired 888 officers since 2005 and already 30 percent of them are gone."
Jordon says the department is down 300 officers from a decade ago and losing roughly 10 people a month due to the massive turnover. The department estimates more than $100,000 goes into training police candidates, only to have them recruited by bigger agencies, like the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
"I say they steal, they pilfer [our officers], take them away from us. We go out there, we find them, we train them and process them, but the question is, are we doing enough to keep them here," Sgt. Jordon asked.
City leaders hope so. At the end of the month, the city could approve $2 million for officer bonuses, uniforms, equipment and recruitment programs from the city's reserve funds to keep San Diego competitive with other agencies.