Friday afternoon, an academy class of 27 graduated from the police academy, the biggest class in years.
A similar-sized class is in training, and the Mayor's Office reports that a new academy class starting in June may be even larger.
The city currently has 932 sworn officer positions filled while authorized staffing is 1109 officers. That 932 figure is deceiving because only 790 are on full duty.
At any one time, a number of sworn personnel may be on leave, on disability or in training. Because of the shortfall, SJPD has had to reduce services, implement mandatory overtime, and shift detectives to patrol work.
The department has also lost experienced officers who took lateral transfers to other police agencies offering higher pay and benefits as the City Council struggled to reign in pension costs and health care benefits.
Police Chief Eddie Garcia in a report issued last September projected that all 1,109 officer positions could be filled by October 2018 and that the sworn staff could reach an expanded level of 1250 officers by July 2020.
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The department kicked off a large recruitment program in February after an agreement was reached with the Police Officers Association, granting officers a 20% pay hike over three and a half years.
The police department goal is to have a minimum of 45 recruits in each academy class. It can handle up to 60 recruits. However, the number of academy graduates in a class has been as low as seven in February of last year.
Friday's graduation ceremony was held in a ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose.