Headhunters Target SJPD

Instead of going back to the bargaining table following Mayor Chuck Reed’s State of the City address last week, some San Jose police officers started looking for a one-way ticket out of town.

In a speech otherwise noted for its conciliatory appeals to the city’s cops and firefighters, Reed used the word “cancer” five times in reference to the injurious effects of rapidly growing pension costs in the public-safety departments. (He did not specifically mention the $300K in sick leave former top cop Rob Davis snagged on his way out the door.) The mayor might as well have been talking about the spiteful relationship between the city and its unionized workers, particularly the Police Officers Association.

Immediately after last week’s address, the POA announced that it’s already mobilizing its workforce—to start looking for new jobs. Recruiter Deborah Libbey, a sergeant with the Vancouver, Wash., police force, is meeting with officers at POA headquarters this week to talk about the lifestyle benefits to be found in and around Vancouver and greater Portland, Ore.

POA Vice President Jim Unland said it’s possible 10 officers could end up making a “lateral move,” which is a quick-escape route available to officers who’ve already been through the academy and require little training when they jump teams. Of course, Reed isn’t likely to lose any sleep over 10 cops skipping town.

Tom Manheim, spokesman for City Manager Debra Figone, announced last week that the city might need to lay off as many as 349 of its 1,200 officers if massive concessions aren’t agreed to. Unland said it takes 10 months and $130,000 for the city of San Jose to train each officer, so it’s possible other cities might start cherry-picking San Jose’s finest as a way to save money. For roughly a dozen officers who came from New York to the SJPD in lateral moves just a few years ago, this would be a cycle.

Regardless, as if this story needed some irony, just when newly installed Police Chief Chris Moore begins to make real progress in restoring public confidence in law enforcement—new policies barring racial profiling and biased-based policing are being widely praised—San Jose could be losing about a quarter of its force.

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

34 Comments

  1. So, the leader of the City has called me a cancer, and blamed me for being on a gravy train.  I respond to stabbings and shootings in this City where the trouble started with less insulting words being said!  Listen up!  The cops and firefighters just work here.  The City Council and Mayor Reed have put demands on the table and we concede to their proposals.  This budget mess is their fault, not the employee who work his job and collects fair and equitable wages provided by their employer. 

    We need to look deeper at how these budget problems somehow can’t be predicted or planned for.  I bet ever homeowner reading this saw a storm was coming and refi’ed their homes during the past 7 years.  What did the City do, they buried their heads in the sand and dreamed of sports stadium, spent money they didn’t have and made legal agreements they have whined they can’t keep.  I tell you, in the public sector its called corruption or criminal theft!

    I’m surprised I haven’t heard that Mayor Reed and the Council hasn’t found to SELL these fine, highly trained and professional officers (San Jose’s Gold)to other agencies.  After 21 years here, one is usually too set in their ways to start in another Police Department.  I am looking to abandon ship.

    I feel like the faithful housewife who did everything above and beyond to make everything wonderful, yet I’m discovering the City doesn’t love me anymore.  I want a divorce!

  2. Are you kidding me? 349 police officers are going to be laid off in my city…. I truly love San Jose, but I think we need more police officers! I’ve lived in and raised two children in north San Jose. If this is the case, I am leaving this city and moving to Milpitas or Fremont. I hope the city council doesn’t lay off any police officers…. If so, “goodbye” San Jose (after 36 years) and “hello” Milpitas. I guess I may come down to Santana Row every once in a while.

    Mickey Tyrone (San Jose resident)

  3. Behold Duty Manual Section C 1306, one of the changes The Fly considers “real progress” on the part of police chief Chris Moore:

    Biased-Based Policing occurs when a police officer engages in conduct based on a person’s race, color, religion (religious creed), age, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, actual or perceived gender identity, medical condition, or disability.

    Biased-Based Policing can occur not only at the initiation of a contact, but at any time during the course of an encounter between an officer and a member of the public.

    Officers will not engage in biased and/or discriminatory-based policing as this undermines the relationship between the police and the public, and is contradictory to the Department’s mission and values.
    ——————————————

    I have no doubt that some readers will agree with The Fly’s assessment of this policy, something understandable for those with little understanding of the realities of police work. But rest assured, this memo, part of an opening salvo in Chief Moore’s attempt to placate this city’s minority cartel, is not only foolish to the point of absurd, but so politically devious as to constitute a veritable Catch-22.

    I now understand what Chris Moore was daydreaming about during those decades when he was avoiding street police work: heading a department of dehumanized law enforcers programmed to follow policy. After all, what could be easier to run than a department where every officer was expected to perform as objectively as a metal detector, where zero tolerance for human error translated to zero political liability for the police chief?

    If you read the new section carefully, you will discover that common sense, at its most basic level, has been denied the working cop. Realize that now:

    – when an officer spots your 85 year-old grandmother standing in the middle of Capitol Expressway, he may still lead her to safety (thank goodness), but must otherwise treat her exactly the same as if she were a daring teenager or reckless jaywalker. Her age cannot be factored into his treatment of her or any conclusion he might make as to the nature of her conduct, less he violate Duty Manual Section C 1306.

    – should a cop spot a man with a purse running frantically to a waiting car he will not be able to form any conclusion different than had the purse been in the hands of a woman. Reasonable cause turned into policy violation.

    – should two officers come upon a violent struggle between a middle-aged rabbi and a young man with a shaved head, the policy dictates that no assumptions be made, thus these officers must invest their physical intervention equally, perhaps with each officer knocking one participant firmly down to the pavement for handcuffing.

    Cops serve us best by using the very cognitive tools this rule outlaws. I could easily list a thousand examples of the stupidity that underlies this rule change, and I sincerely hope the police officer’s association takes this impossible to obey policy right to court where it might be properly and publicly pilloried. As there appears no end to the appeasement our supposed leaders will make to the morons and self-obsessed psychos that constitute our empowered minorities, let’s hope that relief might be found in the courts.

    • Agreed – the ever vigilant, politically correct, insane asylum outpatients are as bad as any criminal one could ever encounter.

    • Haha….I won’t be violating that duty manual cause I won’t be doin shit!  The days of me actually caring to put criminals in jail are LONG gone in this city.  Say goodbye to proactive police work!  Say hello to sky high crime rates in SJ!  Thank GOD I don’t live in this city with it’s crazy leaders who don’t prioritize public safety properly.

    • Mayor Reed, Councilmen Constant, Councilman Oliverio and City Manager Figone lied to you when they promised you that your votes in support of Measures V and W would keep you safe by saving Police And Fire fighter jobs.

      They lied to the police when they came to all patrol briefings and went to the MercuryNews saying that “if police and fire take a 10% cut in salary and benefits we won’t have to lay anyone off.” 

      Why is what they said a lie?  Because now they say that even if police and fire take a 10% cut they will still be “FORCED” to lay off 237 Police Officers and 82 Fire fighters!!!  They lied because they threatened the police department with 153 layoffs if the Police Officers Association refused to take any cuts in pay/benefits, NOW THEY THREATEN LAYING OFF 349 if their offers are rejected!!!!

      Reed, Constant Oliverio and Figone are liars! they lied to the police, they lied to the fire fighters and they lied to the voters who elected them and are blindly supporting them now.

      • CITIZENS OF SAN JOSE LET’S TALK FACTS,,,THE DEFICIT IN SAN JOSE STARTED AT THE SAME TIME REED WAS ELECTED TO THE CITY COUNCIL OVER TEN YEARS AGO,,MAYBE SOMEONE SHOULD ASK HIM WHAT HE HAS DONE TO STOP IT FROM GETTING WHERE IT IS TODAY,,MAYOR REED TOLD THE POLICE THAT HE HAS VOTED FOR EVERYONE OD OUR CONTRACTS SINCE HE’S BEEN IN OFFICE. NOW THAT HE IS TERMED OUT AND DOESN’T NEED THE POA’S SUPPORT FOR RE-ELECTION HE SAYS THAT HE MADE A MISTAKE VOTING FOR THOSE CONTRACT’S THAT HE CLAIMS ARE BREAKING THE CITY. FIRST OF ALL ALL CITY EMPLOYEE’S ARE PAID OUT OF THE GENERAL FUND,,IF YOU LOOK ON THE CITIES WEB-SITE YOU’LL SEE THAT THE GENERAL FUND ONLY MAKES UP 26% OF THE BUDGET.  SO ASK YOURSELF WHAT HAS THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL DONE WITH THE OTHER 74%???  OBVIVOUSLY THE EMPLOEE’S ARE NOT BREAKING THE BUDGET AS THE MAYOR WOULD HAVE U BELIEVE. ONCE AGAIN HE HAS LIED. BUT IF IN FACT OUR CONTRACT’S WERE BREAKING THE CITY AND THE MAYOR DID VOTE FOR THEM FOR HIS OWN POLITICAL GAIN DOESN’T TELL YOU HOW HE AND THE CITY COUNCIL HAVE BLOWN THE OTHER 74% OF THE BUDGET

  4. Weren’t there lessons learned from the $60 million bond loss under McEnery?  What sort of financial hit did the City retirement fund take when the stock market collapsed in 2008?  Is that part of what has contributed to the pension crisis?  Don’t we have a reserve fund for emergencies?

      • I’M GLAD YOU BROUHT THAT UP,,LET’S FACE IT ALL PENSION PLAN TOOK A HIT IN THIS RECESSION NOT JUST OURS,,BUT DID YOU KNOW THAT FROM 1997 OR SO TO I BELIEVE 2004 THE PENSION FUND DID SO WELL THAT THE CITY RECIEVED A CREDIT OF 79 MILLON DOLLARS THAT THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO PUT IN THE FUND. OBVIVOUSLY THEY DIDN’T PUT IT IN A RAINY DAY,,INTO OUR CITY STREET WHICH ARE RATED THE WORST IN THE COUNTRY,,MY WHERE DID THAT MONEY GO????

        • The Redevelopment Fund and other well hidden secure funds that only the city council and mayor can see.

    • The downturn did take a significant amount of the fund, 1 billion if I am not mistaken, However the city moved the rest of the money into “safe investing options.” If they would have left it maybe it would have come back to where it originally was?

    • 5% interest on 500 million a year (new city hall bill)… You do the math… That’s just interest, not the principle… How stupid is our city council?

  5. The City Hall which cost over $500 million and probably higher is all cost were added in will cost $1 billion + over 30 years of refinancing and interest costs or $30-40 million a year from General Fund increasing deficit – Oh well !

    City Hall still as promised doesn’t hold all city employees But wait maybe it will after more layoffs !

  6. Let ‘em go.  Once they get to their “new” job, they may well find themselves regretting how good they have it in good ole San Jo.

    Good Riddance.

    • Good ole San Jose!? LMAO. You sound like the guy under the rock in the Geiko commercial. SJPD is being shredded by Reed the Terrible and his accomplices. Having been elsewhere, SJPD is no longer the destination it once was. Good ole SJ officially is a PIT within the industry.

      BTW,…good luck with a police force of 800-1000 to patrol a million plus citizens. Of course not including the illegal aliens and annexations.

    • Do you really mean it.  I know of 11 officers that have accepted jobs in the last month.  1 lateral and 10 officers that were recruited and trained from day one by San Jose.  With the exception of the lateral it cost the city over 100k per officer to train and put on the street after approximately 9 months to a year of training.  1 million in investment out the door.  There are currently 13 officers testing for the DA investigators positions at Santa Clara County.  The county is currentlty holding open deputy positions and have cancelled academies wanting for layoffs to occur.  The city of Santa Clara is testing with several officers from San Jose taking part.  These cities are more than happy to let San Jose pay for and train the officers that they are hiring.  Those are just the ones I know about.  I’m sure there are more.  I’m sure it will take a long time for all the officers to get new jobs but the process has started.  Remember with each officer gone the city looses over 100k in initial training cost that eventually the city will have to reinvest again when they need more officers.  We are talking about 350 million in investment that the city will loose when the layoffs occur.  The grass may not be greener for all these officers but at least there is grass to feed their families.  All San Jose has done has offered them a pink slip so don’t fault them for leaving.

  7. You can go anywhere and find a job. This use to once be thee model city. Other city heads would come to our city to see how we did things. We are now a laughing stock, thanks to Mr. Reed and his group of followers. But that’s okay. We are off to better pastures. Employees working for this city, who have any upper skill level, will be snapped up. Not going to miss it at all. At least other cities take care of their employees. They don’t call them cancers.

  8. Concessions need to be made, to be sure. But should the concessions be imposed by the City, giving them absolute power? Binding arbitration is supposed to level the playing field so that both sides are fairly represented. I’m worried for the officers who have worked unders these contracts for 20+ years only to have the rules being changed on them at the end of the game. I’m worried for the people of San Jose who will have insufficient peace officers to protect them. I’m worried that City Hall is focussed only on finances and has forgotten about the people it employs.

  9. In all my years (26+) working for the CSJ I have never felt so unwelcome in my job.  I have worked hard and now after signing a contract all those years ago the mayor and his council have decided that I shouldn’t have what i have earned.  How about since the mayor and council are in the charter why not investigate not allowing them the chance to collect a pension unless they put in a minimum of 10 yrs and while you’re at it provide a provision that no one on council can work outside jobs.  Let them try and keep to a budget utilizing the pay they get from council.  My guess is you won’t get anyone running for mayor of this city.

    • In all my 20 years owning small businesses in San Jose, I NEVER felt welcome by city employees.

      So now you know how you it feels.  Its your turn to feel the pain you and yours put so many businesses through!

      • WTF?? Sounds like your problem is with the rules and regs that the City Council makes. City employees don’t make the rules, the elected council does. Employees enforce the rules on the books, but like it? Them talk to the idiots on the Council that made them. The same idiots that spent millions on an unused airport and a boondoggle of a city hall.

        “Its your turn to feel the pain…” This is what all of this is about. A race to the bottom. Since everyone else has lost their pensions and benefits thanks to the greed of the wealthiest few who run America’s (and now the world’s) corporations you want the last few to suffer with you. Instead of making everyone feel your pain, why don’t you work to seek pensions and living wages for all Americans?

        • WTF back to you!  City employees pull political power trips on any detail of opening and managing a business.  The “not on my watch mentality” makes small businesses miserable.

          Are you saying the council wrote rules for you to have constant power trip issues?  Who’s in charge of who?

          I’m glad most of you A$$holes are getting layed off.  YOU DESERVE IT!!!!!

          Now back to my beach chair and cold beer.  grin

        • I don’ think he comprehends rational…

          FYI, I’m not a cop or firefighter, or a city employee for that matter. I’m actually an independent businees person, my field is the law.

          It sounds like you have a persecution complex… City workers are not out to get you.

  10. City MisManager Figone and Mayor Sunshine Reed have created very hostile work environment driving officers and employees into early retirement or other jobs to get to their 900 police officer goal

    Figone has told others she will retire later this year, what is not well known is she will collect San Jose’s largest city retirement $250,000 + year as reward for mismanaging city government

    She will join former San Jose City Managers doing consulting and collecting millions showing other governments how to change public support for public safety and city workers forcing unions to give back 10-20% pay while increasing benefit and pension contributions to 20-30% of pay reducing city costs like she did in San Jose  

    This will leave millions for Council’s campaign supporters payoffs with money leftover for ego projects and to reward loyal city managers and cronies who hire consultants

  11. Osama bin Oliverio and Chuck bin Laden have poisoned the minds of the people against us. They’ve been putting pills in peoples’ coffee. May they be infested with the fleas of a thousand camels! We will never submit to their demands. Never! We will be martyrs!

  12. I am a San Jose Police Officer of about fifteen years.  San Jose is a great city not because of who we work for, but who we work with.  Those people I value are the people beside me and the community that supports me.  Why would I police this city if the people I work for (the commmunity) did not want me where I am?  With that being said, it is not a question about whether the public likes me – the police officer – because I know they do.  I can’t ever forget those citizens that have offered me food, praise, or even assistance in chasing down someone I was in a foot pursuit with.  Unfortunately, I am reminded every month that educating my children and sustaining my family in San Jose comes at a cost.  Lets face it, being a SJ police officer is not something that is easy to come by.  When I tested I had to compete with 1,300 other individuals for 24 positions.  My graduating class was 17.  Two other recruit officers were dismissed during field training because they did not “make the cut.”  This is why the quality of officer is high.  In the wake of the financial crisis, when we(SJPD Officers)get calls from buddies in bordering cities offering us positions, I think about it.  Without going into details, I have been losing income for about the last five years (concessions the city doesn’t want to admit).  I think I speak for a lot of officers when I say that I may have to leave to a place that has more competitive pay.  It’s not that I don’t like working here in SJ, it is that I am tired for working for less.  I get it, a lot of people don’t think I deserve what I earn, but a lot of bordering cities (virtually all of them since SJPD is towards the bottom when it comes to pay and benefits – believe it or research for yourself)beg to differ.  Most of us can walk away from here and get a raise (10K-30K-realized in medical and retirement benefits their agency covers)over night.  It’s not a coincidence that people leave this organization and are immediately hired by other law enforcement organizations.  Please don’t think that we are walking away from the city because leaving is something that is very hard to do.  Officers are engrained with things like “Honor” and “Loyalty.”  Too bad that most of us forget that we also have to be loyal to our family and do the other thing we were taught—“The Right Thing.”

  13. Hey how much directly or indirectly has Boob Reed held out of the budget to bring the Baseball team? Is it $200 million? Why is 1/3 of the budget for “Special Projects”? Could 35 mil go for burying overheard wires at the new stadium, $30 mil for Downtown art for McEnry? Remeber Reed when you point at the Unions, 3 fingers are pointing at you!