Just a couple months after San Jose voters approved a pension reform settlement for its public employees, the mayor’s office announced Thursday that the city has come to a tentative agreement with its police union on a new 3.5-year contract.
“Rebuilding the San Jose Police Department remains our top priority,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said. “We have already begun to stem the tide of officers leaving the department, and with this contract, we'll now be in a much stronger position to aggressively recruit and retain more officers. In addition, we’ve reached agreements with the POA on a number of other provisions that will allow us to significantly enhance the level and quality of services provided by our department.”
In an interview with San Jose Inside earlier in the day—excerpts from the interview will be published next week—the mayor noted that SJPD is already drawing more recruits thanks to the passage of Measure F. Whereas the police academy was drawing as few recruits as half dozen per cycle, the mayor noted that roughly three dozen new recruits have made it through the background process and are taking the first steps to become San Jose police officers.
Paul Kelly, president of the San Jose Police Officers Association, said the agreement “represents an ongoing commitment by the SJPOA and the City to rebuild our police department and deliver the level of public safety services that San Jose residents deserve. We are committed to recruiting and retaining as many officers as possible and this contract is an extremely important step toward achieving that goal.”
See below for the full press release:
City of San José reaches tentative agreement with San José Police Officers Association on new 3.5-year contract
San José, Calif. – The City of San José and the San José Police Officers Association (SJPOA) have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract that includes wage increases spread over the next 3.5 years as part of the City’s ongoing efforts to address SJPD’s chronic staffing challenges and rebuild the department.
“Rebuilding the San José Police Department remains our top priority,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “We have already begun to stem the tide of officers leaving the department, and with this contract, we'll now be in a much stronger position to aggressively recruit and retain more officers. In addition, we’ve reached agreements with the POA on a number of other provisions that will allow us to significantly enhance the level and quality of services provided by our department.”
Recent compensation surveys have shown that SJPD officers’ take-home pay lags behind other nearby cities, and in recent years, the City of San José has continually seen officers leave the department for other law enforcement agencies.
To address this challenge, and to successfully recruit and retain more officers, the new agreement includes a series of pay increases over the next 3.5 years:
- Jan. 2017: $5000 one-time, non-pensionable retention bonus for current officers
- July 2017: 10% general wage increase
- July 2018: 3.25% general wage increase + 2.75% non-pensionable Crisis Intervention Training pay
- July 2019: 3% general wage increase + 1% increase to non-pensionable Crisis Intervention Training pay
“This contract represents an ongoing commitment by the SJPOA and the City to rebuild our police department and deliver the level of public safety services that San Jose residents deserve,” said Paul Kelly, President of the SJPOA. “We are committed to recruiting and retaining as many officers as possible and this contract is an extremely important step toward achieving that goal.”
In addition, the City of San José and SJPOA reached agreement on a number of other issues that will enable the department to further address urgent staffing challenges and improve services to the community:
- A “clawback” provision to recoup a portion of the training costs for recruits who leave for another law enforcement agency within five years of graduating from the SJPD academy.
- Agreements to civilianize additional positions performed by sworn officers to ensure that civilians are performing civilian work and police officers are performing police work and to expand the duties of CSOs and Reserve officers in order to free up more officers to more quickly respond to priority calls.
- An extension of the length of officers’ shift assignments from 6 months to 1 year to improve departmental efficiency and stability.
"I have been extremely proud of our officers during these trying times, and they are among the hardest working officers in the country,” said San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia. “This signifies the great support that Mayor Liccardo and Council have for our men and women. Our goal has been to once again be the safest city in the country, and the steps taken recently by our City leaders will establish the foundation to achieve this benchmark.”
The tentative agreement will be presented to the SJPOA membership for ratification and then brought to the City Council for final adoption (expected to take place in February). If approved, the agreement would be effective January 1, 2017, through June 30, 2020. The SJPOA’s previous contract expired on December 31, 2016.
“I’m deeply grateful for the leadership and the effort from everyone involved in these negotiations,” said City Manager Norberto Dueñas. “We have achieved outstanding progress to solve one of our most pressing priorities for community safety, and I’m very pleased that we’re on the right track to meet mutual goals in partnership with our officers.”