San Jose city council to consider public safety emergency over police shortage

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The San Jose City Council is set to take the extraordinary step of declaring a public safety emergency to put more police officers on the streets. (KGO-TV)

The San Jose City Council is set to take the extraordinary step of declaring a public safety emergency to put more police officers on the streets.

The officer shortage is a serious issue for the San Jose Police Department; staffing levels are at unprecedented lows and there appears to be no relief in sight. That's why the city council is considering declaring an emergency today.

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SJPD wants to redeploy 47 officers from special operations back to patrol to help meet minimum staffing levels. The emergency declaration would let the chief override the police union contract to re-assign investigative officers to patrol. The police union says that's the only way to do it, because otherwise it would violate contractual agreements.

RELATED: Police union asks SJ to declare state of emergency

So how bad is the shortage? The department says it needs a minimum of 500 police officers in the patrol division. But the number of available officers for September is just 413. So 87 unfilled positions, some of that will be done with mandated overtime shifts and other officers volunteering for the extra shifts.

The head of the police union says this is an absolute emergency based on the numbers. The regular session for the city council starts at 1:30 Tuesday afternoon.

Click here for more stories about the San Jose Police Department.

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