Residents meet with SJPD about public safety

The San Jose Police Department met with residents concerned about public safety and reveals a projected short-staffing issue.
March 20, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
The troubled San Jose Police Department has more problems on their hands. Already short-staffed, they may see their ranks thin even more in the months and years ahead.

Thursday night, residents met at the Willow Glen Community Center to discuss the future of public safety in their city. The last thing they wanted to hear was that the department will have fewer officers. The city of San Jose is disputing the projected numbers, saying they're making changes to increase the ranks.

Some San Jose residents are worried about their safety, even more so now that police are predicting a sharp decrease in officers on the streets over the next couple years.

"We are going to go from 904 today to 809 by June of 2016," said a speaker.

That's an alarming reality for neighbor Steve Kline. He said, "In a three month period of time, our very small street had 50 percent of our houses were burglarized."

He doesn't think the city can afford any further reductions. Mayor Chuck Reed isn't buying those numbers. His goal is to have more officers on the streets by 2016. He says the city is aggressively recruiting officers and working to keep them here.

"We're giving them a 10 percent pay increase, 4 percent this year and another raise next year. On April 8 we're going to improve the benefits for officers who get hurt on the job. So we're taking some steps to improve the retention," said Reed.

But he admits there are challenges like dealing with skyrocketing retirement costs.


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