SAN JOSE (KCBS) – As the San Jose Police Department continues to struggle with staffing issues, the city’s first-ever Community Service Officer program began training 25 recruits this week.

San Jose police Sgt. Heather Randol said 13 men and 12 women reported to the Evergreen Police Academy on Tuesday to learn how to take reports on mostly “quality of life” crimes like burglaries, auto thefts and vandalism.

“We just don’t have the sworn officer staffing to respond to all of those calls,” Randol said. “So those are things that the community service officer can respond out to.”

Randol said the initial five-week academy will be followed by three weeks of field training. She said community service officers will be equipped with pepper spray, but won’t be conducting any enforcement duties.

“They will not be issuing parking citations, they won’t be towing abandoned vehicles, or making detentions or arrests,” she said. “And that’s a question we’ve been asked – they are simply out there to take cold police reports.”

Academy graduation is set for late August with the CSOs set to be deployed by mid-September.

San Jose’s police force has shrunk from a high of more than 1,400 officers in 2008 to nearly 900.