SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — San Jose could see its lowest number of police officers in three decades if the department continues to lose officers at a steady rate, according to a new report.
On Tuesday, the San Jose City Council is expected to receive the report. But it’s not the worst case scenario. Instead, these are optimistic views and projections.
According to an advance copy of the report obtained by the Mercury News, the police department currently has 1,010 sworn officers. By next July, that number will drop to 988. And by July, it’ll drop even further to 949.
That would be the lowest number of officers the city has had in 30 years. The report is based on the assumption that the department will continue to lose about three to four officers a month to retirement or other departments.
The report says they can’t fill their academies with enough new blood fast enough to cover the losses. And when they do, Police Chief Larry Esquivel says they are drawing from a “lower qualified candidate pool.”
All this is being blamed on the ongoing legal battles over pension and disability reform and low pay.
The City Council approved an 11 percent pay restoration and Mayor-elect Sam Liccardo has promised to do more.
“We’re going to get to work on insuring that we can accelerate the hiring in this department, get more officers out on the street,” Liccardo said. “And while we’re doing that, we’re going to continue to use more innovative approaches to make San Jose safer.”
The report goes on to say they’ve had trouble recruiting, even though the city has set aside $10 million reserve to hire new cops.
San Jose police officers are currently on a 10 hour, four days a week schedule, but many end up working five, or even seven days a week. Detectives have been pulled from investigative divisions to go back on patrol. In last fiscal year, the city spent $25 million on overtime.
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