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San Jose Council Member Calls For More Police Officers On Patrol

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Given the San Jose Police Department's staffing shortage and a recent rash of homicides in the city, a city councilmember is looking to put more than a dozen desk-bound officers back on the streets.

But the San Jose Police Officers' Association is holding fast and resisting that call.

KCBS' Mike Colgan Reports:

San Jose City Councilwoman Rose Herrera said she is supporting San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore's recommendation that 17 officers, who are now doing background checks, be returned to patrol and to civilianize those positions.

"Most other areas, other cities don't use sworn officers to do this so we're unique in that we're doing that. The city and the chief would like to be able to have that flexibility to have those 17 officers, sworn officers, that could be used for more critical things, out on patrol and doing things for crime prevention, catching the bad guys," she said. "But instead, they're having to do the backgrounds."

But San Jose Police Officers' Association President Jim Unland said the current crime wave in the city is due to cutting police staffing and it's important that background checks be done by sworn officers.

"It's an investigative position. It's not something that the private sector is designed to do," said Unland. "Police officers are trained and over time, really develop an instinct for when they're being lied to and deceived. That's the whole part of the background process."

San Jose's homicide rate was up to 32 following the arrest of a man accused in the killing of a 17-month-old being babysat by his girlfriend.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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