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"Last week," said City Councilwoman Laurie Zapff, "we had a twenty-year veteran of the police force who left to take a job in Stockton. Stockton! You know what they have in Stockton? Nothing! Nothing, that is, but twenty percent more salary than we could afford to pay him. Plus lower home prices. But still. Stockton!"

That is why, said Zapff, she and other concerned Council Members have called for a task force to come up with ways to make San Diego a more appealing place for cops - short of, you know, paying them more.

The task force, entitled COPS? (Can Officers Please Stay?), has issued a few test proposals that will be presented in a public hearing at the Mission Valley Hooters on June 28.

The first of these is the so-called Arvelos Initiative, named for the former officer who was convicted of coercing women to let him grope them during traffic stops. "Being an officer is a stressful, sacrificial life," reads the proposal. "Police keep the women of San Diego safe from rape, murder, mugging, theft, and a host of other crimes. Would it kill them to show a little gratitude? Why not give a piece to those who keep the peace! No harm done."

Another is the Policeman's Potable Protocol, which would allow off-duty officers to drink for free in any bar on their beat. "And not just the well crap, either. We're talking top-shelf booze. These men would take a bullet to keep you safe. Pour 'em a slug of the good stuff."

Finally, COPS? called upon San Diegans to consider committing fewer crimes on Mondays. "The only reason our officers are overworked is because there is too much work for them to do. And what is their work? Catching bad guys. If everyone worked a little harder at following the rules, even for just one day a week, then our officers could take a well-deserved nap."

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