SAN JOSE (KCBS) – As San Jose searches on for a new police chief, the man appointed to fill the job in the meantime has been grappling with how to prevent rank and file officers from leaving the force.

More than 60 San Jose police officers have jobs at other police agencies since a recent pension reform measure made the city’s police salaries and benefits less competitive.

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“Retention is a priority,” said acting Police Chief Larry Esquivel.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

Esquivel said he was consulting with city leaders and the city manager on issues that would improve morale to “work towards at least minimizing some of the attrition.”

San Jose police officers have been depart for police jobs from San Francisco to Santa Cruz.

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And the quest for a new police chief to replace retired Chief Chris Moore took a turn when City Manager Debra Figone deemed three finalists unsuited for the position.

Esquivel has drawn on relationships formed over 27 years on the force to address morale problems.

“I’ve got a pretty good working knowledge of the department and the men and women that work here,” he said.

“They want a voice and I think that’s what I want to do, be that voice for them.”

But Esquivel doesn’t want the job permanently. In fact none of the deputy police chiefs have applied.

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