City Hopes Bonuses Will Help Keep Sacramento Officers from Moving to Nearby Police Departments

SACRAMENTO -- The city of Sacramento is preparing to address a pattern among Sacramento police officers of leaving the department and taking jobs at various other departments in the region that pay more for less dangerous work.

At crime scenes in the suburbs around Sacramento, it isn’t hard to find officers who, at one time, donned a badge for Sacramento PD.

"It's like a reunion. When you go up to Elk Grove, or you go up to Roseville, and you see the officers working there, even places like Folsom we see Sacramento police officers,” said Timothy Davis, president of Sacramento's police union.

He says the problem lies mostly in the fact that the city simply doesn’t pay its officers enough to retain them.

"We can't blame people for going and leaving for higher pay and safer cities with lower workloads,” said Davis.

With overtime and bonuses, an average officer -- not counting the chief, detectives or captains -- gets paid a little more than $93,600 a year in Sacramento. Compare that to Modesto, where officers make more than $104,000, Rocklin where officers make a little less than $112,000 and Elk Grove where officers can pull in more than $116,000.

Davis says in addition to pay, recent city council decisions mandating that Sac PD release video of officer involved shootings within 30 days have left many officers with little faith in their department.

That decision followed the high-profile police shootings of Joseph Mann and Dazion Flenaugh.

"It sent a negative message to officers that even if you do your job, and you do it well, you're going to be second guessed,” said Davis.

"Couldn't disagree more,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg on that point.

Steinberg said being transparent and showing police video to the public will only improve public opinion of officers when they're doing their jobs the right way.

"Where there's a police shooting, there's going to be a presumption that we release video. I think that's supportive of the police,” said Steinberg.

Tuesday, city council is expected to approve a one time, $1.38 million bonus for Sacramento police, that will result in a $2,150 bonus per officer, a $2,000 bonus per sergeant and a $1,000 bonus per dispatcher.

The mayor conceded these bonuses will not be enough to retain those considering leaving, but says it’s a sign of good faith that the city is willing to negotiate with the police union on salaries.

"We have to balance their value to us and make sure that we have enough money to fund other city priorities,” said Steinberg.

"I'm hearing they want to fix the problem but I’m waiting to see what they're willing to do,” said Davis.

Negotiations between the union and the city will begin sometime next month.