SDPD could get 30% raises to halt staffing crisis

SAN DIEGO - Details on the contract agreement designed to stem the flow of experienced officers from the San Diego Police Department to other law enforcement agencies was released Wednesday.

The agreement between the San Diego Police Officers Association, the union representing the department's officers, and the city, was announced Tuesday night by Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

To keep SDPD pay competitive with market conditions, the tentative agreement calls for significant compensation increases on top of those already approved in the final two years of the SDPOA’s existing contract through fiscal year 2020:

  • July 1, 2018: 8.3% increase (3.3% of which was previously approved)
  • 1, 2019: 5% increase
  • July 1, 2019: 3.3% increase (previously approved)
  • Jan. 1, 2020: 5% increase

It also includes additional increases for officers as follows:

  • July 1, 2019: 5% increase for officers with 20 or more years of sworn service in law enforcement
  • July 1, 2019: 4% increase for all officers in exchange for negotiated changes to certain flexible health benefits

If approved, officers would receive cumulative increases totaling 25.6 percent to 30.6 percent over the two-year agreement, depending on years of service and future negotiations on flexible benefits.

Officers have been leaving the department at a rate of 12 or 13 a month for several years, some simply retiring but many seeking better take home pay in neighboring cities or with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

A highly touted five-year deal with the SDPOA two years failed to change matters.

"This landmark investment into our police force will help ensure San Diego stays one of the safest big cities in America for decades to come,” Faulconer said.

"This is a fair agreement that makes San Diego officers' salaries highly competitive and encourages veteran officers to stay and grow within SDPD. San Diego has the best police department in the nation, and now every current officer and prospective recruit has great new reasons to choose SDPD.”

SDPOA President Brian Marvel said the deal will help recruit new officers and bring in experienced personnel from competing agencies.

"By employing a new strategy with regard to SDPD recruitment and retention, one based on competitive compensation, the city is sending the right message to our experienced officers, catching the eye of the quality laterals and recruits we want to attract, and giving taxpayers more value for their tax dollars," Marvel said.

The deal will need to be ratified by the SDPOA membership and approved by the City Council before it takes effect.