SAN DIEGO — Childcare for San Diego police officers might be a little closer to reality, as the city hopes the first such program in the nation can help recruit and retain police officers.
The city council voted unanimously on Monday to move forward with a childcare center for law enforcement officers who work all kinds of odd hours. Now they may soon have somewhere to send their children.
“Actually, I myself have a six-month-old, little boy. A four-year-old girl,” says Brian Avera, a San Diego police officer and director of the San Diego Police Officers Association.
Avera helped the SDPOA open a daycare for law enforcement after one of their own made a desperate appeal.
“Part of the SDPOA will never forget the phone call a member made who needed help with childcare. This phone call caught the attention of the SDPOA and we wanted to do something about it,” Avera said.
The daycare will offer SDPD employees extended hours and affordable rates.
“We actually had someone who worked at the San Diego Police Officers Association. I believe they were paying about $2,800 a month. We know it’s borderline mortgage,” Avera said.
The program comes as the SDPD struggles to recruit and retain officers.
“We also noted that this will help break down a barrier that currently exists for some women who are reluctant to become police officers due to child care concerns,” said city council member Vivian Moreno.
The initiative is funded over three years and includes a $3 million investment from state grants and donors. The cost is estimated at $3.7 million.
Some callers questioned the plan.
“I asked on public land, 100% subsidized by the taxpayer. Why limit it to San Diego Police Department employees and their children,” caller Lori Saldaña said.
The center will offer hours from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and serve children five and under.
“It’s getting harder and harder to attract people to our organization, and then once they’re there, to retain them, to make them stay. This childcare solution will do that,” Avera said.
The establishment can accommodate approximately 40 to 50 children.
Now, agencies across the country have contacted the SDPD to launch similar programs.
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