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City Council Unanimously Approves Mayor’s Landmark Agreement with Police Officers Association

Contract Will Bolster SDPD Ranks and Keep Neighborhoods Safe by Making Officer Salaries Highly Competitive With Other California Agencies

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – In an effort to keep San Diego one of the safest big cities in America, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer today won unanimous City Council approval of the contract he negotiated with the San Diego Police Officers Association (POA). The landmark two-year contract agreement will make the San Diego Police Department compensation significantly more competitive among California law enforcement agencies, allowing San Diego to better recruit and retain police officers.

The contract, which was agreed to and overwhelmingly approved by the POA in October, increases salaries by up to 30.6 percent over a two-year period and remains consistent with voter-approved pension reform. SDPD will rank above average in all pay categories for the first time in years, bolstering efforts to hire new recruits and retain veteran officers to help ensure communities stay safe.

“This contract is all about keeping our neighborhoods safe and secure,” Mayor Faulconer said. “This strengthens our ability to attract new recruits and retain our most experienced police officers. Having more cops on the beat will help strengthen our community policing approach and ensure San Diegans continue to live in one of the safest big cities in the country. I applaud the City Council for supporting this contract and for making public safety a top priority. ”

In recent years, the City of San Diego has struggled to hire new recruits and keep experienced officers from retiring or leaving for other law enforcement agencies largely due to higher pay offered elsewhere. San Diego officer salaries currently rank near the bottom when compared to 18 other law enforcement agencies in the state, including Anaheim, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

A comparison conducted by an outside consultant shows where San Diego’s officer compensation will rank among those same agencies under the new agreement. Here’s how certain positions rank:

  • Captain, seventh (previously 17th), 4.5 percent above the median
  • Lieutenant, fifth (previously 18th), 7.3 percent above the median
  • Officer II, fifth (previously 16th), 9.9 percent above the median
  • Sergeant, sixth (previously 17th), 5.8 percent above the median

Officers with 20 or more years of experience are also among the most competitive:

  • Captain, third (previously 17th), 7.7 percent above the median
  • Lieutenant, fourth (previously 18th), 10.4 percent above the median
  • Officer II, fourth (previously 16th), 12.7 percent above the median
  • Sergeant, fourth (previously 17th), 8.8 percent above the median

“For the past year, I have been advocating for salary increases for our police officers,” said Councilmember Chris Cate, Chair of the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods committee. “I've also urged my colleagues on the Council to set aside the necessary funds to invest in salary increases, and did so, in our last budget cycle. That is why I strongly support this new agreement. We have an obligation to make sure we take care of them like they do for our communities.”

To keep SDPD pay competitive with market conditions, the agreement calls for significant compensation increases on top of those already approved in the final two years of the Police Officers Association’s existing contract through Fiscal Year 2020:

  • July 1, 2018: 8.3 percent increase (3.3 percent of which was previously approved)
  • Jan. 1, 2019: 5 percent increase
  • July 1, 2019: 3.3 percent increase (previously approved)
  • Jan. 1, 2020: 5 percent increase

It also includes additional increases for officers as follows:

  • July 1, 2019: 5 percent increase for officers with 20 or more years of sworn service in law enforcement
  • July 1, 2019: 4 percent increase for all officers in exchange for negotiated changes to certain flexible health benefits

Officers will receive cumulative increases totaling 25.6 percent to 30.6 percent over the two-year agreement, depending on years of service.

The first set of compensation increases will go into effect July 1. The total fiscal impact of the new agreement will be about $66 million for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years.

“This contract will make us competitive to hire the very best and retain our experienced officers,” said Chief Shelley Zimmerman. “We are already seeing positive results with the most applicants attending our recent physical abilities test in any one day than in nearly three years and officers who have recently left inquiring about returning. Increasing our staffing is a critically important investment in keeping San Diego a safe city. I want to thank Mayor Faulconer and the City Council for their commitment to public safety.”

In 2015, Mayor Faulconer reached agreement on a five-year deal with the Police Officers Association that among other things gave officers 6.6 percent in total increases in take-home pay in Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020, complying with Proposition B’s freeze on pensionable pay through Fiscal Year 2018. The new offer rewrites the final two years of that deal for Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020 while still adhering to voter-mandated pension reform.

CONTACT: Greg Block at 619-227-3752 or [email protected]

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