As of this week, there are 1,826 actual sworn officers in the SDPD. By comparison, this is 50 fewer officers than the same time last year, 57 fewer than in Fiscal Year 2015, and 64 fewer than in Fiscal Year 2014. But even worse, when compared to the Bureau of Justice Statistics Police Staffing benchmark for large cities, the City is over 1,000 officers short.
Last year, I called this the San Diego Police Officer Retention Crisis, and it’s clear to me that this crisis is getting worse. The frustrating thing from a policymaking perspective, is despite the attention over the last few budgets, we still don’t have an explanation for why police officers are leaving San Diego. We haven’t rigorously analyzed the data we have to generate possible solutions. Without an evidence based approach to the problem, we don’t really know what the best solutions at this point might be, or even whether the solutions we might pursue going forward will work.
Also, I am worried that we have begun treating this problem as something natural, as something that we are powerless to solve. From my perspective, that approach is a dereliction of duty. The leadership of the City and SDPD must confront this problem head on, crunch the data to find out how we can solve it, and then solve it. We need solutions, not excuses. At minimum, we owe it to our police officers and our residents to develop a plan of action to increase police retention and recruitment. It’s my hope that the resources needed to solve this problem can be achieved in this budget.
Last year, my officer put our a Police_Report highlighting the Retention Crisis.