Police union asks San Jose to declare state of emergency

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose police are considering re-assigning detectives back to the streets to curb a rising crime rate. And the police union is asking the city to declare a state of emergency.

"It is an absolute emergency now based on the numbers we have," said San Jose Police Officers Association President Paul Kelly.

And the number the police union says it's getting from the city to adequately staff the patrol division is 500 full time officers; this in a department that only has 813 street ready cops.

"We've gone from bad to worse in terms of staffing," said Mayor Sam Liccardo. "We know now that we're in a severe shortage."

A letter from the city manager's office to the SJPOA obtained by ABC7 News says it'll be necessary to redeploy 47 police officers from other units back to patrol

Kelly describes it another way.

"(When) there's 340 ten hour shifts that need to be filled in a week at the San Jose Police Department, you know you have a major problem," he said.

And Kelly says the only way to do that is to declare a state of emergency because the urgent rebidding of shifts may violate contractual agreements.

"The troops need to know where they're going to work, what days off they're going to have, and right now everything is an unknown," he said.

The most likely units to be deployed back to the streets are those from the detectives and special ops divisions. That poses another problem.

"You're not going to have investigators that are there to continue investigations, follow up on leads, and you're going to cut special operation units," said Kelly. "So as far as crime and combating crime, that will be cut down as well."

Time is running out. The new shift changes have to start next month.
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