Joe LaCava Bashes Law Enforcement 

Comms Director, RPSDC Comms Director - RPSDC 1 Comment

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During a University City Community Association meeting on March 13, 2019, City Council District 1 hopeful Joe LaCava bashed the San Diego Police Department.

LaCava, never one to let facts get in the way, said San Diego Police “don’t do enough for the community” and “focus too much” on crime.

Unlike Joe LaCava, San Diegans have deep respect for the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe.

One wonders how LaCava’s attitude will go over when he interviews for the San Diego Police Officers Association endorsement.

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  1. I was surprised to read this inaccurate account of my recent comments to the University City Community Association regarding San Diego police officers. My comments were not a criticism of SDPD, but an explanation of why we need to work together to restore the department to the staffing levels of the early 2000s.

    We have long known about the challenge of filling 200 budgeted but vacant positions. The low pay and lack of benefits made it difficult to recruit applicants to the SDPD Academy. Similarly, the pay and benefit package has made it easier for other agencies, like the County Sheriff’s Department, to entice lateral transfers of graduates and mid-level officers. Despite their loyalty, meeting the needs of their families understandably comes first for those officers.

    Recent pay increases have eased that problem and we have seen an uptick in new applications, but those recent increases may not be enough to fill the 200 budgeted positions in light of continued lateral transfers and retirements.

    But the conversation does not stop there. In the early 2000s, San Diego was a nationally recognized leader in Community Oriented Policing. The recession forced deep budget and staffing cuts across all city departments, including Public Safety. While we have 200 vacant budgeted positions in SDPD, we are arguably another 200 positions short of the staffing needed to fully implement Community Oriented Policing across our city. Best practices suggest that Community Oriented Policing can be fully implemented when there is sufficient staffing so officers are spending about 60% of their time responding to crime. The balance of their time allows officers to be on the beat connecting with the neighborhood, the residents, and the merchants–building relationships to pro-actively prevent crime. That is why we need to fill the 200 budgeted positions and find funding for 200 additional officers.

    Far from criticizing the SDPD and the dedicated officers who put themselves in harm’s way, I urged respect for officers by fully staffing the department so they can return to Community Oriented Policing.

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