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SJPD Sick Calls Spike Amid Budget Crunch, Pension Debate

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A San Jose Police patrol car. (CBS)

A San Jose Police patrol car. (CBS)

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SAN JOSE (CBS 5) – Despite budget tightening that has left the San Jose Police Department short staffed, the force has seen a huge jump in sick calls in recent months.

A Mercury News investigation found that police sick calls are up 40 percent in 2011. The year has been filled with layoffs, scandals and a surge in homicides. Some say morale is down.

Now, a policy allowing officers to cash out unused sick days when they retire may be taken away as part of pension reform.

San Jose Police Officers Association President Jim Unland said there is no coordinated effort among officers to cash out the time, and Chief Chris Moore downplayed the rise in sick calls.

Moore said San Jose probably had an artificially low number of sick calls in the past due to the cash out policy. It’s a policy being targeted by Mayor Chuck Reed.

“We can no longer afford that.  It’s costing us ten million dollars a year,” said Reed.

On Tuesday, Reed and the city council will decide weather to put a pension reform proposal – which includes the sick time change – on the June ballot.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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