"It doesn't make sense," said Chief Zimmerman.
While crime has not increased in San Diego, Zimmerman is concerned it will rise if more officers aren't on the streets soon.
Currently there are 1,847 sworn officers with the San Diego Police Department, which is 166 less than what it should have.
Zimmerman adds one reason why it has been difficult recruiting and keeping police officers is the take home pay.
According to The San Diego Police Officers Association, officers are paid about $18,000 less than a local sheriff deputy. The attrition rate is about 10 officers a month, and many are going to other agencies for higher pay.
"We need more officers. Whatever you need to do, you should do," said one community member at Thursday's meeting.
Data is currently being collected to compare SDPD officers' compensation to other agencies the same size. That report should be completed in one month.