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Police union president: Low San Diego Police Department staffing levels creating concern

Posted at 6:27 AM, Apr 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-12 09:27:04-04

SAN DEIGO (KGTV) – The San Diego Police Department has been busy in recent days.

San Diego Police Officers Association President Jared Wilson told ABC 10News it started with shots fired near Belmont Park, and then a hostage situation in Tierrasanta.

"And then, an incredibly violent night in the Gaslamp where there [were] shots being fired and a melee in front of Myst Night Club where an officer was put into the hospital,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the sergeant suffered head trauma in the incident and is recovering in the hospital.

San Diego Police said two officers were injured when they were called out to a fight in the Gaslamp Quarter area and the crowd surrounded and attacked them early Sunday morning.

The call of shots fired in the Gaslamp Quarter was a separate incident.

Wilson said staffing within the department, in general, is getting worse and worse.

"And we lost eight total in one week alone, last week. And as officers leave in droves because of low compensation, our patrol staffing levels are just a disaster,” Wilson said. “We're not meeting minimum staffing more often than we are now."

Wilson said that during the Tierrasanta incident, staffing levels were under the minimum.

"And in downtown, during the night of that melee, the graveyard shift was 40 percent under minimum staffing,” Wilson said.

More than 180 officers have left the SDPD this fiscal year, according to Wilson. He believed that to be the highest in six years, and he said staffing is impacting response times for things like priority one calls.

"Priority one calls are life-threatening incidents, and when it takes 33 minutes for an officer on average to get there, it's just unacceptable. People deserve better service than that,” Wilson

ABC 10News reached to the San Diego Police Department for comment on these recent alleged staffing levels and the impacts. ABC 10News was told the department has received the request for comment, but a response has not been received as of the publication of this story.

Wilson said that they're in contract negotiations with the city and he hopes for a collaborative process with city leaders.

"While we're really waiting to see what else we can really do and how much more support we have in the fiscal budget to really pay these officers a fair wage so that we can retain them,” Wilson said.

The police department's website states that as of this month, there are a little more than 1,900 sworn personnel with the department.