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San Diego approves nation's first childcare center for police officers

The San Diego City Council held a special hearing Monday on the plan to create a childcare center for police personnel.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego has become the first city in the United States to provide a childcare facility for police officers, it was unanimously approved by the City Council on Monday. 

The soaring cost of childcare is a burden felt by many families and San Diego Police officers could soon have some of the burden lifted. 

The childcare facility will be customized to meet the needs of law enforcement by offering extended hours and affordable rates. The public private partnership effort was led by the Police Officers Association (POA) and championed by Mayor Todd Gloria and Police Chief David Nisleit.

“This first-of-its-kind childcare 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,” Mayor Gloria said. “Careers in law enforcement are more demanding than ever, and this program will help ease officers’ childcare burdens so they can concentrate on keeping San Diego one of the safest big cities in America.”

The city council held a special meeting Monday to discuss the plan to create a childcare center for police personnel. Council members voted on whether or not to allow a property in Mission Valley already used by the police department to be used for the new center. 

A police officer's demanding schedule can make it challenging to find care while at work.

"These are individuals who have abnormal schedules for work and often have to get called on duty last minute and they need child support," said Councilmember Chris Cate.

The city and police officer's association have worked together on the plan. The center would be open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. for kids five and younger. Emergency childcare services would be available if an officer is called into 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, childcare, the hours we work so for all those reasons it's highly important," said David Nisleit, the San Diego Police Chief.

A family can pay nearly $34,000 a year for an infant and toddler in childcare.

This new center would charge officers half the going rate and childcare workers would be paid 20% more than the average.

There's hope the childcare center will help retain and recruit officers to the police force especially women and single parents.

According to the San Diego Police Officer's Association, the program will not cost the City of San Diego or the taxpayers anything. It is a public-private partnership made possible through private philanthropy, KinderCare and the state.

WATCH RELATED: Help is on the way for working parents struggling with childcare 


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