The San Diego Police Officers Association launched a public relations campaign Monday pointing out what they say is a critical shortage of manpower and underfunding of public safety in the city, reports the city’s Union-Tribune. “We are critically understaffed,” union president Bill Nemec said at a news conference. “The bottom line is cops are leaving and we are losing the ability to provide protection to the community.”
He said as many as 300 officers are looking for jobs elsewhere that have better pay and better benefits. The department has 1,761 officers but needs as least 2,000 to effectively provide protection to the community, he said. Mayor Jerry Sanders’ office disputed the number, saying the city had 1,947 officers as of April 4. Fred Sainz, a spokesman for Sanders, said the commercial was misleading and confuses pay issues with public safety issues. The police union and the city are in contract negotiations.