SAN JOSE (KCBS) — Four former San Jose police chiefs announced their support for Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese in the mayor’s race on Thursday citing crime and police staffing as the two of the main issues. Mayor Chuck Reed, however, is endorsing Councilman Sam Liccardo and has dismissed the chiefs’ endorsement as political theater.

Former Chief Chris Moore was joined by Tom Wheatley, Rob Davis and Bill Lansdowne in an interview with the media organized by the police union saying that Reed and the City Council went too far with pension reform.

“They really wanted to reduce the size of the police department and now they are faced with the circumstance where we do not have the ability to respond for calls for service as a department that the city of San Jose deserves,” Moore said.

Lansdowne said the exodus of veteran officers is especially “distressing” in a city the size of San Jose, the tenth-largest in the U.S.

“There’s only one detective in burglaries, there’s on only one detective working auto theft. That they do in-custody cases only; there’s no follow up. I can’t believe that’s happening. It needs to be fixed now,” he said.

More than 200 officers have left the department since the passage of Measure B, for pension reform, in 2012 but Mayor Reed says it’s a myth that crime has increased as a result.

“2013 was the second-lowest violent crime rate in a decade. I think that’s good news for the police department, good news for the people of San Jose,” he said.

The police department struggled to fill its police academy and the officer count is down 400 officers from its peak.

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