San Jose: San José Mayor Proposes Accelerating San José Police Rebuilding, Launching Foot Patrols in Every District
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June 13, 2022

Media Contact:

Rachel Davis, Chief Communications Officer, Office of Mayor Sam Liccardo,

SAN JOSÉ, CA – On Tuesday, the San José City Council will vote on San José Mayor Sam Liccardo's Budget Message, which includes funding to add twenty officers to the San José Police Department.  These additions will enable–for the first time in decades–the institution of walking foot patrols in the downtown and high-need areas.   It will also add four officers to the department's mobile crisis assessment team (MCAT), pairing officers with mental health professionals to better respond to mental health episodes too-frequently seen among the City's unhoused population.

Unlike many other large U.S. cities, San José's Mayor and City Council never "defunded" its police department in the wake of the racial reckoning prompted by the murder of George Floyd, but instead chose a path of reform and continued investment in policing.

Under Mayor Liccardo's tenure, ranks of the San José Police Department have grown by nearly 230 officers since 2017.   With contemplated actions by the City Council, the force will grow another 95 officers over the next five years.

Nonetheless, San José continues to be served by the most thinly-staffed police department of any major U.S. city, and increasing demands for response have prompted greater focus on strategic investment in SJPD.   In 2021, the Police Department had 1,708 budgeted ongoing positions, of which 1,153 were sworn officers.  The disparities of SJPD's thin staffing appear stark: the average nationwide rate of sworn officers per capita is 2.4, compared to San José's rate of 1.0 sworn officers per capita. Staffing shortages have intensified over the past decade from budget cuts, increases in population and development, increases in calls for service, and expanded demand for police services.

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"The addition of walking patrols in Downtown and several neighborhoods will usher in a renewed commitment to community policing in San José," said San José Mayor Sam Liccardo. "We can only establish relationships of trust where residents and small business owners get to know their beat cops, and that requires getting officers out of their patrol cars and onto the sidewalk."

As workers begin to return to Downtown hotels, restaurants, and offices, Mayor Liccardo seeks to immediately deploy these new walking beats downtown.

Mayor Liccardo's March Budget Message also prioritized public safety support with funding to:
  • Re-arrest pre-trial defendants released by County authorities who are failing to appear in Court on felony charges
  • Incentivize lateral-hiring of street-ready, trained, and experienced police officers from other agencies;
  • Support nonprofits engaged in the Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force, working directly with at-risk youth;
  • Lease software and technology for more law enforcement-grade cameras, license plate readers, and gunshot detection systems;
  • Deploying additional surveillance cameras in key commercial districts;
  • Develop a public-facing digital evidence collection portal through which crime witnesses and victims can aid SJPD by uploading photos and video evidence.

For more details on the proposed budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year, view the following documents:
The City Council will hold a final public hearing on Monday, June 13, 2022, on the City Manager's proposed budget. The Mayor's June Budget Message recommendations will be voted on by Council on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

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About the City of San José

With more than one million residents, San José comprises the 10th largest city in the United States, and one of its most diverse cities. San José's transformation into a global innovation center in the heart of Silicon Valley has resulted in the world's greatest concentration of technology talent and development.

Filed Under: Government, City

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