SAN DIEGO — San Diego police are getting a long-awaited pay raise. The 10% raise is official, after the city and police officer association reached an agreement this week.
The police department lost more than 230 officers since last July for a number of reasons, but cost of living and pay have played a role.
“I think it’s a good first step. I think the job we have in filling our ranks is going to be increasingly difficult and we are going to have to find other solutions,” said Sgt. Jared Wilson, president of the local police officer association.
The pay raise will be implemented over the next 13 months, but the police officer association says there is still work to do to gain and keep a competitive edge over other departments.
“This will get us close to the middle of the pack in the county of San Diego. We’re still bottom third in the state with agencies in other big cities,” Wilson said.
The pay raise will put San Diego police ahead of the other large agency within the county, the sheriff’s department.
Pensions, wages, and different units in the police department were also first majorly cut about 10 years ago, something the union says it never truly recovered from. More recently, police chief David Nisleit and the union have repeatedly raised concerns over staffing shortages and rise in crime as a result.
“Our response times for priority one calls now are up to 31 minutes and that is a historic high. We went 10 years without a raise so when we did get a large raise it fills some of the gap, but what we really need to see is a stop to the boom and bust cycles of large raises and small raises,” Wilson said.
The first 5% raise will start this July and the second 5% will start next July. Increases in healthcare benefits for families start in January and some degree of student loan forgiveness will also be implemented.
The union says it would like to work with the city on a five-year budget outlook and a five-year plan to get staffing back up to the best level possible.