SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Bacon lovers received bad news Wednesday when a San Jose festival featuring the favorite breakfast food was postponed due to a lack of available police officers to provide security.
The event was set to fill Plaza de Cesar Chavez with 10,000 to 15,000 people on Labor Day. But a complication has forced the festival is postponed until mid-October.
The San Jose Bacon Festival promises a lot of pork, but apparently there aren’t enough police officers to cover the fest.
“Two and a half weeks before the event, we get a letter from the city saying, We don’t have enough resources, particularly police resources for the event,” said Ryan Sebastian of the organizing group, Moveable Feast. “It draws tons of people to downtown. This is exactly what we need, but then they make it difficult or impossible to hold it.”
It is the latest fallout from a police officer shortage that has gone from bad to worse.
On Wednesday, the chief of police went to the San Jose City Council to ask for an emergency declaration to allow him to put more officers on the streets.
“We have to draw a line in the sand and make sure that our officers are as safe as I can have them, and at the same time make the community safe,” said San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia.
The number of street-ready officers is down to 815 for a city of over a million.
And with hundreds of vacancies, officers are being asked to fill 348 ten hour shifts for September in overtime.
The emergency declaration would let the chief temporarily sidestep union rules about how officers can be redeployed from other assignments to put the maximum number of people on patrol.
It’s something even the police union is on board with.
“The chief had to do something. It’s a hardship on the officers,” said Lt. Paul Kelly of the Police Officers Association. “No one likes being reassigned to patrol. But we have to do what we have to do.”
“This is a band aid,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “This is a temporary fix that will hopefully get us to November, when we will hopefully get support from our voters on Measure F.”