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San Jose Police Force Drops To 'Frighteningly Low' Levels

SAN JOSE (KCBS)— The total number of patrol officers in San Jose has dropped below 600 for a city of a million people, according to a memo to the mayor and to the city council. The city's police chief acknowledged that the department is not able to maintain adequate staffing levels due to "unanticipated resignations."

Police Chief Chris Moore, who will be stepping down in 2013, said in a memo that the total number of officers allocated to patrol is only 583, which raises concern about public safety.

A large number of officers have either resigned or retired since the passage of Measure B, which reformed pensions.

KCBS' Mike Colgan Reports:

"It's frighteningly low and it's only going to go down," said detective James Gonzales, who's also a police union board member. "It's put us in a position where we are no longer able to pro-actively attack crime."

The memo shows that about 70 percent of the total number of sworn officers is assigned to patrol. Mayor Chuck Reed agreed that a force of fewer than 600 is too low.

"San Jose is lightly staffed both in the police department, fire department and all the other departments, we always have been," Reed said. "Unfortunately, the police department is too lightly staffed. We should be growing the department and we're doing that as fast as we can to replace people that have left, but the department is too small and we need to increase the size."

44 new recruits who are going through the police academy should be ready to hit the streets by June of 2013.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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