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106 San Jose Police Officers To Lose Jobs; More Layoffs Threatened

SAN JOSE (KCBS) - San Jose's budget woes have forced the city to lay off more than 100 police officers, but proposed cuts could take that number even higher.

The initial layoff notices, to 106 officers, will go out later this week.

"We do love our job and we love this department," said Officer Frank Hauge earlier this year. "I was born and raised in San Jose and I love this city. I really, really would hate to go anywhere else."

KCBS' Matt Bigler Reports:

The city is facing a nine percent reduction in its police force, but city hall officials say another 155 cops could be laid off on top of the 106 if employee unions do not agree to 10 percent cuts in pay and benefits.

"That's the unfortunate part, that you don't know where the bottom is," said San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore. "We need to have some stability in our ranks because we can't go year after year with these young officers worried about their jobs."

KCBS' Mike Colgan Reports:

San Jose Police Union President George Beattie said it's disturbing that the city is spending $120 million on Convention Center expansion while at the same time, laying off the officers.

"We're very disappointed to have any of our officers laid off," Beattie said. "Never before in the history of the San Jose Police Department have we had layoffs. I think most people know that we're the most understaffed major city police department in the country so even laying off one officer is unacceptable."

But San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed disputes those claims, explaining that the money to expand the Convention Center is coming from a special tax and not the general fund.

"The sad fact is that the cost of benefits for our police officers is going up dramatically next year," he said. "Pension retirement costs are going up by $25 million. There's no extra money."

Reed has said that he doesn't want to lay off any police officers, but the city has little choice as it faces its 10th straight year of budget deficits, which are largely the result of rising employee pensions.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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