Exclusive: SD Police union leader discusses SDPD's downsizing of special units

Posted at 5:23 PM, Sep 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-26 20:45:22-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Team 10 was granted an exclusive interview with the San Diego Police union’s president to discuss the recent announcement that the police department is downsizing special units.

10News broke the story on Saturday.

SDPD is currently down about 200 officers. Subsequently, officers who work in specialized teams, are being reassigned to patrol work. Questions have been raised about how this will affect morale in the department and how it will affect community safety.

“We know that our staffing is really, really low,” says Detective Jack Schaeffer, President of the San Diego Police Officers Association. Recruitment has been an ongoing challenge for the department.

Despite the recently approved pay raise, the high cost of living in San Diego is a deterrent for many prospective officers.

Officers on teams that deal with gang suppression, community relations, and traffic, are going to part-time patrol. Officers on the crime suppression team are going to full-time patrol.

The new plan will be re-evaluated after four months. That means there will be no crime suppression officers for at least four months. Det. Schaeffer speaks to the importance of the crime suppression team.

“You're basically solving a crime or stopping a crime before it actually happens. I think that's critical,” he explains.

The effects that the changes will have on the community’s safety are still unknown.

“When [we’re] not out there proactively doing things, there's a lot of stuff that can slip by us if [we’re] not out looking for it,” adds Det. Schaeffer.

He’s hopeful that the recruitment numbers will soon improve and the changes will only be temporary.