SAN JOSE (KCBS) – A new IBM report suggests San Jose’s public safety departments are overstaffed and has sparked debate between the tech sector and those who serve the city.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed asked IBM to take a look at the numbers for police, fire and parks and recreation to see where money could be saved.

He said that the report, which came at no cost to the city, used the city’s own data to look for ways to streamline services.

KCBS’ Janice Wright Reports:

“How can we restore services? How can we save money? How can we be more efficient and how can we better serve the people of San Jose?” Reed said.

The report found that some firefighters could be replaced by private paramedics, one of many points that Robert Sapien, president of the San Jose Firefighters union, said is far from a fair swap.

“No for-profit company can meet the response times of the fire-based EMS system because we’re already deployed and EMS is a value added in the fire service,” he said.

Sapien said that he thinks IBM is simply trying to sell its technology to replace people. “This has no concern for the well-being of our citizens,” he said.

Mayor Reed said he doesn’t see the report as something that will lead to layoffs.

“I don’t think that’s where we’re going to go with the report,” he said.

Reed said it was just a starting point for analysis.

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