San Diego Police Union, Mayor disagrees over COVID vaccine mandate for officers – NBC 7 San Diego
As the city’s mandatory deadline for its employees to receive at least the first COVID-19 vaccine arrives Wednesday, Mayor Todd Gloria disagrees with a claim by the San Diego Police Officers Association that the service Police officers are “alarmingly” understaffed, instead attributing slow response times to the increasing call volume.
The SDPOA released a statement on Tuesday accusing staff shortages of delaying response time, specifically citing Halloween night.
“An incident involving a motorist driving on the sidewalk at Hillcrest sparked a conversation about a two-hour response time from the SDPD,” said a statement from the association. “Due to alarming numbers across town, officers were unable to respond quickly to 911 calls on Halloween night.”
The association did not respond to follow-up questions.
Gloria told City News Service that the association is twisting the facts.
“Rather than a lack of adequate staff, the delays in responding to 911 calls were due to an increased volume of emergency calls,” he said. “The number of emergency calls on Sunday, November 14, 2021 alone increased by almost 90% compared to the previous year.”
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The SDPOA, which represents more than 1,850 law enforcement officers, vigorously opposed the vaccination warrants.
In a survey released in September, about 90% of 733 officers surveyed believed the vaccine should be an individual choice. More than three hundred officers said they would rather be sacked than forced to be vaccinated.
âWe will do everything we can to retain the valuable members of our organization, but if people choose to go elsewhere, we will do our best to recruit top-notch and first-class talent,â Gloria said at the meeting. press conference. time.
Gloria discussed the city’s recruiting approach on Wednesday, citing 46 recruits joining the SDPD and 95 recruits to come.
“Of those 141 recruits, 26 are women and more than 68% are people of color,” he said. âI am proud of our diverse recruitment efforts and remain committed to increasing diversity in all areas of the city. “
In September, the city announced that all employees should be vaccinated against COVID-19, except religious or medical exemptions. The deadline for submitting proof of full vaccination is December 1.
SDPD chief David Nisleit said the possibility of losing officers due to vaccination warrants was an issue.
“It’s worrying, the possible impacts if we lose officers, look at this police service, our ratio of officers to citizens is the second lowest in this country, so that obviously has an impact on our ability to respond to crime. “, did he declare. .
The presidents of the firefighters and police unions are both fully vaccinated, but both are seriously challenging how the city of San Diego has rolled out its COVID vaccination mandate, reports Alexis Rivas of NBC 7 Investigate.
In June, city council voted unanimously to pass Gloria’s proposed budget of approximately $ 4.6 billion, an increase of more than $ 537 million – or 13.4% – from plan. of spending last year. A sizable $ 23 million increase in the San Diego Police Department’s budget was made despite calls for council to fund the SDPD’s overtime allowance of at least $ 10 million.
Much of the increase in the police budget is part of non-discretionary spending such as pensions, over which Gloria has little say, according to city officials. The budget cuts police overtime by $ 4 million.
The city has increased the SDPD budget over the past 10 years, an increase of over $ 200 million since 2011.