Nearly 500 officers have resigned or retired from San Jose’s police department since 2012. With more than 200 vacancies and a backlog of assignments stretching mandatory overtime to unsustainable levels, SJPD has given up investigating all but the most serious crimes.
The department is so desperate for new officers it recently sent 11 cops to Hawaii on a $50,000 recruiting trip that was destined to fail. The lieutenant in charge of the trip admitted in an interview with San Jose Inside, “We’re willing to try anything right now.”
San Jose residents need to do one thing to help alleviate some of these issues, and that’s vote “yes” on Measure F.
The hope is this measure will allow the city to finally move past the acrimony of 2012’s controversial Measure B pension reforms. At that time, previous Mayor Chuck Reed was in office and negotiations between the city and its unions were stagnant. The city’s unfunded liability for pension benefits was ballooning out of control and Measure B presented an opportunity to correct course. It apparently went too far. Since that time there have been minor tweaks to ensure police officers are properly covered for disability, and a second tier of benefits was created for new hires. But the approval of Measure B changed the game so that voters must approve any new changes to the city’s charter.
Nearly every elected official and civil service employee at City Hall wants to see Measure F pass, and Police Chief Eddie Garcia has argued it is the only way for him to rebuild the ranks and improve morale. Failure to do so will only lead to more officer departures and keep the department uncompetitive as an employer. Vote “yes” on Measure F and the city can begin to focus on the future, rather than the past.