Improving Public Safety

FIREFIGHTERS

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Public safety is the most essential and first priority of local government.  A top priority of mine is ensuring equitable and first-rate fire-rescue and EMS services to San Diegans. The department is stretched thin and the resources based here may be called to other areas of the city to respond to calls, and therefore may not be here when we need them. We can save money and deliver better service by increasing firefighter staffing levels. More full-time staff means more people ready to answer the call, but also savings because they aren’t all working overtime shifts at a greater cost to the city

  • Response times across the City are not equitable

  • Overtime expenditures are out of control in the Fire department because they are understaffed

  • District 3 has specific needs, like canyon neighborhoods and resources for San Diegans experiencing homelessness

  • Programs like the Resource Access Program (RAP) deserve and need more funding and staffing (“Community Paramedics”) to deliver specialized services and also save taxpayer funds overall by diverting “frequent flyer” ambulance callers to more supportive long-term services

  • Community Paramedics also need to be negotiated into the City’s upcoming new RFP/contract for ambulance service



LIFEGUARDS

A fully staffed professional lifeguard service is essential to San Diego as a world-class tourist destination that welcomes millions of visitors each year, especially to our beaches and bays. Lifeguards also provide essential rescue services for non-beach communities such as swift-water and river rescue services in storms.

Lifeguards deserve presumptive illness coverage just like other first responders within the Fire-Rescue department.

  • Both fire and lifeguards deserve a City-paid death and disability insurance benefit, which they do not currently have.

  • The San Diego Fire-Rescue department is the ONLY fire agency in the state of California without a defined-benefit pension. This is an inequity and it presents a significant recruitment and retention challenge for the city.

We can work on increasing compensation for police, firefighters and lifeguards to make recruitment more competitive with other agencies in California.


POLICE

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We need to keep compensation competitive and to increase staffing levels.

  • Still over 150 officers short of their budgeted level -- meaning they have over 150 vacancies

  • Community-oriented policing is a top priority

  • More transparency and accountability within the department to the residents it serves, including reform of the Citizens Review Board and more transparency in use-of-force policies

  • A fully staffed department allows our officers to have more time to spend the time de-escalating situations on calls, and establishing trust and relationships with the people they serve.

  • Greater diversity in hiring to ensure officers reflect the communities they serve


EMERGENCY
DISPATCHERS

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More dispatchers need to be hired.

  • Response times for non-emergency calls are woefully inadequate due to understaffing.

  • Non-emergency calls for police have wait times over 30 minutes.  We need to do better.

Homelessness (quality of life teams, fires, crime, businesses)

    • Police and Fire have important programs that we must continue to fund such as Homeless Outreach Teams (HOT), Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT), Serial Inebriate Program (SIP), Resource Access Program (RAP)

    • These are important regional partnerships with the County that we need to urge them to support as well.  They provide connections to shelter beds and psychiatrists