SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Four former police chiefs in San Jose came together saying they've had enough of the turmoil in the department and something needs to be done, but the mayor said it's nothing but an election year stunt.
"I love this city. I love the department and it's time for me to speak out," former San Jose police chief Bill Lansdowne said.
"To watch it being taken away and destroyed , it's just difficult for me personally," Chris Moore, former San Jose police chief said.
"There are gaping wounds here and it's hard to watch it because that's our baby," Former San Jose police chief Rob Davis said. "This is our police department. you care about the job and you care about the place.
The four former police chiefs have more than a century of experience behind them.
ABC7 News asked the group what grade they would give the current department, Moore said he would give it a failing mark.
And the former top cops blame it almost entirely on Measure B, the controversial pension reform act, which attempted to rein in growing pension costs. Hundreds of cops have since quit and the exodus continues. The chiefs agree there needs to be fiscal reform.
"It's a matter of priorities," Landsdowne said. "It's where you put your money. it's about what you say is important. Public safety is most important."
The officers, the chiefs say have become the unwitting victims of Measure B.
"They've been demonized the public process and they're leaving elsewhere in droves and nothing's going to change unless we change the leadership in city hall," Davis said.
With that said, they endorsed County Supervisor Dave Cortese for Mayor. His opponent is city councilman Sam Liccardo, who was not available for comment
"This is an election year," outgoing Mayor Chuck Reed said. "It's obviously an election stunt."
Reed worked closely on pension reform with Liccardo. He supports Liccardo for mayor
"We've been able to stabilize the city," Reed said. "We've restored services for the third year in a row. and we've been able to increase staffing in the police department."
Liccardo and Cortese are vying against each other in the runoff election in November. In the meantime, parts of Measure B are in litigation.
Former SJ top cops say department's in turmoil; city leadership to blame