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Restoring Neighborhood Services Must Include Investments in Public Safety

It’s no secret that the last decade has forced all city departments to make cuts in order to balance our city budget.  In many cases the cuts did not impact core services – in fact they highlighted how bloated some city departments had become.

But when it comes to our communities, the impacts of these service cuts can be clearly seen.  We are reminded of our crumbling infrastructure as we drive down our streets, as we pay our rising water bills, and suffer reduced hours at libraries and community centers.

In other areas, the cuts in service levels are not clearly seen, yet may have a more devastating impact on individuals.  Does it surprise you that police dispatchers communicate with our officers on a 25-year-old dispatch system?  The system has become unreliable, putting officers at risk and creating challenges to providing timely responses.

A new modern system will allow for greater integration with other public safety agencies and faster coordination when the most serious emergencies arise.

This is one example of the type of strategic investment necessary to provide effective and efficient responses to the needs of our community.

We also must address our recruitment and retention issues at the Police Department.  There are almost 100 less sworn police officers today then there were in 2007. During the next five years, the Department has identified the need to restore over 250 officers and civilian support staff positions to provide sufficient police services in San Diego.

These solutions can’t be done on the cheap but are essential to keep our neighborhoods safe. The savings from our reform agenda, including managed competition, must be used to fund these improvements to our Police Department.

That is why I am supportive of the Department’s proposed five-year plan.  As your mayor, I’ll work with senior police department leadership to ensure our officers have the resources needed to protect our neighborhoods.

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