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Data: Hiring, retention trouble for the San Diego police department

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Posted at 4:48 PM, Mar 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 19:48:13-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — It's not just San Diego, police departments nationwide are having difficulty retaining police.

San Diego traditionally has averaged a loss of 13 officers a month, now it loses 20 a month. San Diego Police Officers Association President Jared Wilson points to low morale and low pay.

"Bakersfield police in terms of total compensation earn more than us and it's a substantially cheaper area. The pay is not competitive," said Wilson.

A level-one officer out of the academy earns $34 an hour according to the San Diego city's website.

A recent union study shows massive turnover, the department lost 2,400 employees in 15 years. The department currently employs 1,900.

"We hire them, pay $200,000 per officer for training and they stay for about three years and leave to another department," said Wilson.

Wilson says the city should invest in public safety and retain officers who are able to build long-term community relationships.

Cid Martinez is a professor at University of San Diego and specializes in policing. He believes money is only part of the issue.

"Since the high profile death of George Floyd in 2020, people have a critical eye of the police. Departments are in a crisis of legitimacy and it's going to be uncomfortable for officers until we see accountability and transparency," said Martinez.

The city last gave a 3.2% raise to police in 2021.