San Jose considers adding police foot patrols to downtown

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A big vote is set to happen that aims to make downtown San Jose a safer place to live.

It's a budget proposal that Mayor Sam Liccardo says will allow the city to hire more police officers and increase resources for mental health calls.

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While the proposal has support from many, others have big questions about where those officers will come from.

Cache Bouran owns two businesses in Downtown San Jose. He says the area is a destination, but not everyone thinks of it as that yet.

The San Jose City Council will vote Tuesday to consider Mayor Liccardo's budget message, which contains adding funding to the police department to increase foot patrols downtown.

"You know, when folks in this area say I'm going to the city, they're not talking about coming to downtown San Jose," Bouran says. 'They're going to San Francisco, or they're going to Campbell or whatever, right. So I think it's important that we keep investing in our downtown."

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And that's what Mayor Liccardo says he's doing as part of his budget message to the city. He's proposed funding to hire 20 additional police officers to be a dedicated foot patrol for downtown San Jose.

He says it would be the first time in decades that the area would have walking foot patrols.

"We need more cops out here to patrol to protect and serve our community," says resident Daniel Le.

The proposal would also add four officers to the police department's mobile crisis assessment team and pair officers with mental health professionals to respond to mental health calls.

The San Jose Police Department tells ABC7 that they are the most thinly-staffed police department in the nation compared to other cities the size of San Jose.

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They say they welcome any extra funding to add staffing.

But with the mayor's proposal come questions.

The San Jose Police Officer's Association sent ABC7 a statement.

They say that in 18 months, the city has lost over 180 police officers and counting.

They say: "The election time budget proposals include popular items including foot patrols, community policing, and traffic enforcement but we wonder where are these officers going to come from? SJPD currently can't hire to attrition now, so the community should be asking what current police functions will be cut to deliver these new priorities?"

For now, many of those most impacted by the proposal have just one ask.

"Just make this feel a little safer for the folks that live and live and work down here....anything would help," Bouran said.

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