SAN JOSE (KCBS)— San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has asked that the city council appoint a special investigator as well as a U.S. attorney to look into the alleged comments made by the head of the police officers’ union to a police academy class during their orientation.
San Jose Police Union President Jim Unland denies making any inappropriate comments and said he was simply stating the facts in his address to police academy cadets. An op-ed piece by a lawyer, Elyse Rivas, came out last weekend, alleging that Unland had urged the class to give up and drop out.
The San Jose Mercury News reported that according to Rivas, the message he claims he was trying to convey was that the pension cuts from Measure B have left the city “not a good place to work”.
Since Measure B was passed in 2012, there has been an exodus on the police force and a decline in enrollment on the police academy.
“This is a serious problem,” Reed said. “It comes at a time when the people of San Jose are very concerned about public safety. We’d like to hire more police officers. We’d like to grow the police force. If there’s an effort underway to prevent that from happening, I think the city council needs to investigate it.”
Unland has offered signed affidavits from others who were present during the time of the address, corroborating his story and denial. He also noted the timing of the op-ed piece in the San Jose Mercury News by Rivas, a former recruit, considering he spoke to the academy in back in May.
“Two weeks before the election; this is when she’s public through an op-ed,” Unland said. “I would challenge most listeners to say, ‘How do you do an op-ed with the San Jose Mercury News?’ They would say, ‘I have no idea’, and that’s what I have to ask. How did Miss [Elyse] Rivas know how to do one? Who helped her? Did anyone help her with the wording of this op-ed? I don’t know,” Unland said.