San Diego will be the first city in the nation to provide its police officers with a specialized child care center for law enforcement professionals.
The city council unanimously approved of the plan on July 25 to create a day care center that can relieve San Diego police officers of the economic burden of sending their children to an expensive private child care center while they work.
The plan, a private–public partnership led by the San Diego Police Officers Association (SDPOA) and supported by the local government and the state of California, aims to create a child care facility customized to the needs of law enforcement and to accommodate their irregular work hours.
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said the facility is part of the department’s aim to balance life and work for its officers and hopes it will go a long way to recruit and retain more officers.
“This first-of-its-kind child care facility is part of a comprehensive effort to ensure SDPD is a great department to work for, and addressing the unique challenges officers face in trying to balance family and work life is proof of that commitment,” he said. “Careers in law enforcement are more demanding than ever, and this program will help ease officers’ child care burdens so they can concentrate on keeping San Diego one of the safest big cities in America.”
The city council also voted on whether or not to convert a Mission Valley property into the facility.
Councilmember Chris Cate said he believes the plan will relieve some of the stress for officers who need to find child care during abnormal hours.
“These are individuals who have abnormal schedules for work and often have to get called on duty last minute, and they need child support,” he explained.
The SDPOA and the city have agreed that the facility will be open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. for children aged 5 or younger. Emergency child care services will also be available if an officer needs to work during the overnight hours.
“It’s huge, it’s huge for us — it helps with affordability living in this city but also helps with families, child care, the hours we work, so for all those reasons, it’s highly important,” San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit said.
According to CBS 8, families can pay up to $34,000 a year for child care costs for infants or toddlers at most centers.
At the new center, officers will be charged half of the regular rate and employees will be paid 20% more than the average pay.
The city of San Diego and taxpayers will not have to pay for the center, which is covered by the state and day care company KinderCare.