SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — San Jose’s new Acting Police Chief said Tuesday he is concerned about staffing levels at the San Jose Police Department and that fostering morale among officers will be a top priority.

Acting Police Chief Larry Esquivel, 51, said that morale has been down due to issues from wage levels to work load and he wants to hear what officers have to say about them.

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“Part of my job will be to get input from them,” Esquivel said in an interview outside San Jose police headquarters at 201 Mission St. “I’m concerned about it,” he said.

The police force currently has fewer than 1,000 street-ready officers—around 940 not counting 59 new recruits—which is low compared to about 1,400 officers only four years ago, Esquivel said.

In the meantime, his primary goals will be to recruit and retain personnel, maintain partnerships police have in the community and reduce crime through advances in technology, Esquivel said.

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Esquivel on Monday accepted an offer from San Jose City Manager Debra Figone to take over temporarily for retiring Police Chief Chris Moore, whose last day on the force is Saturday, police spokesman Sgt. Jason Dwyer said.

While he is not privy to details of the city’s hunt for a new permanent chief, Esquivel said he heard the search will resume in about a month and that he will serve the next few months as acting chief.

Esquivel, who said that he did not offer his name among candidates to replace Moore, added that he himself is eligible for retirement after 27 years with the force but he has chosen to stay on.

Also on Tuesday, Esquivel announced his appointment of Deputy Chief Edgardo Garcia to serve as the department’s Acting Assistant Chief.

Garcia, who joined the force in 1992, has been overseeing the Bureau of Administration for the department while deputy chief, Dwyer said.

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