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Police Officers Ratify Landmark Agreement to Bolster SDPD Ranks & Keep San Diego Neighborhoods Safe

Mayor, Councilmembers Tout Deal that Moves Historically Below-Average SDPD Pay to Top Tier Compared to Other California Agencies

Monday, October 23, 2017 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – In a move that will help keep San Diego one of the safest big cities in America, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and City Councilmembers Barbara Bry and Chris Cate today announced a landmark two-year contract agreement has been ratified by the roughly 1,800 sworn officers of the San Diego Police Officers Association (POA). 

The agreement, which a preliminary comparison shows will make SDPD compensation significantly more competitive among California law enforcement agencies, increases salaries by up to 30.6 percent over a two-year period and remains consistent with voter-approved pension reform. SDPD for the first time in years will rank above average in all pay categories, bolstering efforts to hire new recruits and retain veteran officers to help ensure communities stay safe.

“San Diego continues to be one of the safest cities in America, but we can’t take that for granted,” Mayor Faulconer said. “With this new contract, we’re moving from the bottom of the pack to the front in pay compared to other law enforcement agencies, bolstering our efforts to hire new recruits and retain experienced officers. Now the men and women who put on the badge every day to keep our neighborhoods safe will be able to start and end their careers as San Diego police officers.”

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 preliminary comparison conducted by an outside consultant shows where San Diego’s officer compensation will rank among those same agencies under the new agreement. A final comparison will be released in the few next weeks. 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 

“This contract proposal for SDPD officers will enable the department to retain experienced officers, attract laterals and the recruits we desperately need,” said Brian Marvel, President of the POA. “With this, and a commitment to maintaining higher staffing levels, we can rebuild SDPD into a strong, stable department, capable of providing the quality public safety services that our citizens deserve.”

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 contract will now go before the City Council for final authorization next month, with the first set of compensation increases going into effect July 1. The total fiscal impact of the new agreement will be about $66 million for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years.

“I'm glad to hear that an agreement to increase compensation for our hardworking police officers was made so quickly,” said Councilmember Bry, Chair of the Council’s Budget and Government Efficiency Committee. “I am hopeful that this pay raise will be helpful in recruiting and retaining more officers in San Diego. Public safety is the City's most important responsibility.”

“Recruiting and retaining police officers has been a top priority since I took office,” said Councilmember Chris Cate, Chair of the Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee. “This contract is an important step in addressing this ongoing crisis. That is why during this last budget cycle, I recommended that we begin the process of setting aside the necessary funds to invest in our police department. The residents of District 6 continue to advocate for dedicating the necessary resources for this new contract.”

“This contract will make an enormous difference for our current and future officers, allowing our San Diego Police Department to hire the very best. And equally important, to retain our veteran officers who possess a wealth of experience and knowledge while proudly serving our community,” said Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman. “No Department has been able to accomplish so much for so long with so few resources. Keeping San Diego one of the safest big cities in our nation does not happen by luck or accident. Today’s historic contract is an investment that will ensure we maintain our distinction as a safe city.” 

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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