South Bay News
Almost 70 San Jose officers to be laid off
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The harsh reality of San Jose's budget crisis is now really hitting home. The police force will have to serve and protect with 70 fewer officers on the streets.
Starting Thursday at 8 a.m., officers will be coming by the police department to turn in their badges. On Wednesday, they leaned on their union for support and options for the future.
"I do feel worried about where the city is headed. Crime is on the rise," said Officer Pierre Nguyen.
Nguyen isn't just a San Jose resident and tax payer, he's also a San Jose police officer and on Thursday, he'll be laid off. He's one of 68 officers losing their job because of the city's $115 million budget deficit -- and he is angry.
"I'm mad at the politicians involved that are doing this for the politics involved. I don't think they don't have their heart in the right place," said Nguyen.
In a statement released Wednesday, Mayor Chuck Reed said, "We have some of the finest police officers in the country and I'm sorry that we have to let some go. I think we need more officers on the streets, not less. We just can't afford them."
Even the police chief knows having fewer officers, starting Thursday, won't be easy. The department is gearing up for this upcoming holiday weekend.
"We've actually staffed up, we have some overtime positions that are available, so we can respond over this one weekend. It's a holiday weekend, but that doesn't touch the weekend after that which is still a hot summer night," said San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore.
"The criminal element kind of knows that 'Hey, this is our day to do what we got to do' and I feel like it's going to be messy out there. It's going to be bloody out there," said Nguyen.
There have already been 28 homicides in San Jose this year. That's higher than it was for all of last year. Residents and business owners are worried.
"I see the police department being stretched so thin that these small crimes that affect small business won't be able to be responded to," said Jake McCluskey from Kelly's Liquors.
"I think it's going to get out of hand and I think the violence might increase," said San Jose resident Jonathan Caires.
Of the 68 laid off officers, 53 have already signed on to be reserve officers, which is basically a volunteer position. The others have already been hired by Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, and San Francisco police.
chuck reed, san jose, crime, budget cuts, south bay news, lisa amin gulezian
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