SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- At least a dozen officers are living in RV's in the parking lot right near the San Jose Police Department's headquarters.
Mandatory overtime forces them to work up to 17-hour days. Combine those long hours with horrendous traffic, and commutes from as far away as Manteca, Stockton, Tracy and even Reno, these officers are staying in an RV during the week and then driving home on their days off.
It turns out the recreational vehicles are legally parked on city property.
"It's embarrassing for any city," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said.
It turns out city leaders had no idea this was going on, until we brought it up this morning. They've just begun scratching their heads about what to do next, like possibly adding more security, including better fencing.
It was Measure B pension reform that voters approved back in 2012 that cut officer pay and benefits, and triggered a mass exodus of officers leaving the department.
Mayor Liccardo said the long term solution is for voters to pass Measure F, which would boost officer pay to hire and retain more cops.
"We need to get some support for Measure F so we can restore this police department so we don't have officers working multiple overtime shifts in the same day in the same week," Liccardo said.
Next week, the city will vote to declare a state of emergency to shift 47 detectives back onto regular street patrol.
Councilmember Johnny Khamis opposes the declaration, saying it's a short term fix, and that all other options have not been exhausted.
Even after seeing pictures of the RV's, Khamis stood firm.
"We need to offer our officers more money. There are many things we can do. Declaring an emergency isn't gonna get the police officers out of their mobile homes, it's actually going to exacerbate the problem," Khamis said.
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