Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hey mayor; Guess Who's Leaving????

Does anyone really think he cares?????

The list of senior, experienced, dedicated members of the San Diego Police Department who have signed papers to retire before June 30, 2009, is growing by the day. The number increased to 86 today with 145+ asking for papers from SDCERS. The anticipated departure of the most experienced of officers is going to have a devastating effect on public safety in the City of San Diego.

San Diego is the 8th largest city in America and one of the most complex and most challenged police departments, operating in the most expensive region in this nation. San Diego Police Officers are paid a wage that puts us dead last in the 10 largest cities in this state and now have the worst retirement benefits of any city in the region. We certainly do not deserve to be compensated at such a level.

We have fewer officers to police a community this size than any major metropolitan city in America. Five days out of every week, our population grows by the thousands from those commuting from Riverside, Orange and Imperial counties, not to mention Mexico, to work in and for this city. Each summer millions of tourists fly, drive and cruise into town from around the world and we welcome them. Fifty-two weeks in every year, thousands of sports fans, concert goers, demonstrators, conventioneers, marathon runners, cuisine lovers, art fair lovers and just ordinary lovers flock to our city to do their thing. We accommodate and protect them.

Our officers handled flawlessly the 1994 Republican National Convention, the Bio-Tec conference (the same conference that devastated Seattle), 2 Super Bowls, 2 world series as well as tragedies at the McDonald’s in San Ysidro and the most recent wild fires. Our officers are the example used world wide by chiefs and communities for how to manage critical incidents. We do it all with less and that is going to get worse.

Our officers police one of the most diverse and complex cities in America and they do so under extraordinary scrutiny and oversight. Yet, despite all else, San Diego Police Officers are a dedicated and professional group of the most tolerant, innovative, sophisticated, and savvy men and women in law enforcement. You can’t put a price on that type of service, but you can, and should, value it dearly. Let’s face it, measuring up to one’s renown as a world-class city is an expensive proposition.

The above is a portion of the presentation I made before the City Council during the Impasse hearing for our 2005 negotiations. I have dusted this off because we will soon have a crisis trying to police this city after June 30, 2009. The mayor needs to understand the dire situation he has created for public safety.

The list of those being forced to leave by June 30, 2009, to preserve vested and promised benefits the mayor has reduced or eliminated, is filled with 20+ officers who each have 25+ years of service to the citizens of San Diego. The list also includes 20+ detectives who each have 25+ years of service to the citizens of San Diego. The list grows when you add 20+ patrol Sergeants who each have 25+ years of service to the citizens of San Diego. Now let's add 20+ Detective/Sergeants who each have 25+ years of service to the citizens of San Diego. Now add one Chief, one Captain and three Lieutenants, who each have 30+ years of service to the citizens of San Diego. 2150+ years of experience is departing the San Diego Police Department. (Let us not forget the 125 members who have departed the San Diego Police Department since July 1, 2008)

On July 1, 2009, the San Diego Police Department will have to replace a Lieutenant and Detective/Sergeant in the Intelligence Unit; two Lieutenants from area commands; one Detective Sergeant in; Auto Theft Investigations, Child Abuse Investigations, Hit and Run/Traffic Investigations, Robbery Investigations, Homicide Investigations, Internal Affairs, Gang Investigations, Elder Abuse Investigations, Regional Fraud Task Force Investigations, and District Attorney Liaison.

Two Canine Sergeants, the Range Sergeant, two Traffic Sergeants, five Administrative Sergeants, ten Patrol Sergeants; twenty Detectives from all areas of the department; Homicide, Child Abuse, Background Investigations, Auto Theft, Financial Crimes, Robbery Investigations, Juvenile Investigations, Area Commands and more.

Some of the biggest losses will be in the Traffic Division. Traffic Officers, Motor Officers and two Traffic Sergeants will be leaving service. This is an area of the Department that generates revenue and protects the City's interest from law suits.

The knowledge, experience, and dedication cannot be replaced with a person off the street. The hiring process for a new officer takes six months to a year when the candidate lives locally and has the skills and aptitude necessary to meet the basic qualifications to enter the academy. Academy and Field training takes another year. The officer will enter the field with BASIC skills necessary to protect himself and do the job of a Police Officer I. It will take two to three years for this officer to understand and react to the nuances of proactive police work. Preventing crimes rather than just responding to and reporting incidents that have already occurred.

Hey mayor; get a clue. You alone have created this crisis. You have refused to acknowledge the danger you have placed the public in by your latest act of terrorism against the officers of the San Diego Police Department.

It has been said if you wage war against your police officers; you had better make friends with the criminals. The mayor has clearly declared war against the Police Officers in San Diego.

I have a question mayor; has one of your many committees finished the public service flier instructing citizens on what they need to do to protect themselves and how to make friends with the criminals in their neighborhoods?

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