I have been ranting away and so focused on the loss of sworn officers, I have neglected to address the astonishing losses we are facing in our civilian support personnel. Over 30 of our most dedicated, hard working, experienced and talented people in Communications, Human Resources, Crime Analysis, Fiscal Management, Lab, Records, Northeastern Division and Investigations will soon be departing.
Over 800 years experience will leave service before June 30, 2009, because of changes the mayor has forced on employees nearing retirement. The men and women who work tirelessly behind the scenes (some side by side with officers) to provide world class public safety to the citizens of San Diego are being forced to leave to preserve retirement benefits changed by the mayor during the last round of collective bargaining. Many, who like their sworn counter parts, are neither ready nor wanting to retire.
The combined loss of support personnel cannot be replaced over night. The selection and hiring of talented, qualified replacements will take months and in some cases a year or more. Human Resources is losing their top person; Communications already below staffing struggles everyday to fill positions to answer calls for help from the public is losing ten highly experienced personnel; Crime Analysis also below staffing has a back log of requests for assistance from Investigators seeking help in solving crimes from Car Prowls to Murders; Fiscal Management is trying to keep the books balanced and ensure we have the money, equipment and other resources necessary to get the job done will now have to make do with three less, senior, experienced analysts; The Lab faces a one year backlog of fingerprint analysis, the inability to process DNA requests, and will now have to make do with three less senior, experienced Criminalists'; Records Division like the others, is already understaffed and struggling to meet the needs of officers, detectives and the public will lose five (5) of our most experienced specialists'.
The public needs to be made aware of the additional loss to public safety that will result on June 30th because of this loss. Yes, police officers in uniform will continue to respond to the public's calls for service. The wait for callers seeking help will stretch from 3 minutes to 5 or more; the delay will result in more calls to 911, which will soon over load the system resulting in emergency calls being placed in the queue and made to hold; Investigators will wait months and in some cases longer to have evidence processed and analyzed; crimes will lag in file drawers waiting for the answers to the questions posed from the evidence; crime will increase and the ability to solve these crimes will dwindle.
The loss is not just blue. The loss is more than color. The loss is more than sworn. The loss is so deep and wide the effects will be felt for years into the future. Yes, we will continue and we will do our level best to provide the best possible customer service possible. But I say to you mayor; working as hard as we can for as long as we can will not fill the holes left by those you forced to leave before their time. The public will pay in more ways than can be described in these pages. When they (The Public) are affected maybe then they will see what you have done and hold you accountable for your actions.