San Jose police launch 'Guardian Program' to ready officers for a possible active shooter

In response to recent mass shootings, the San Jose Police Department is launching something new. It's called the Guardian Program.

It's meant to put designated crews in position, at schools and public events, so they can be ready to respond during an attack. 

This year's Jazzfest in San Jose will feature 170 performances over three days.

It will also be the first test of the police department's new Guardian Program.

Brendan Rawson, Executive Director of Jazzfest says, "The city is being pretty great on putting a program like this into motion."

The Guardians will be a two person crew, specially armed, trained, and designated to respond to an active shooter.

San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia says after the recent tragedies in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton, he had to do something.

Chief Garcia says, "We can't wait for legislation to fix this problem. Our residents want to know what our police department is doing to save lives."

And so Garcia created this. In addition to monitoring community events, the Guardian crews will be stationed in nine school zones around the city.

They won't take the place of school resource officers, but they'll be in addition to them.

Chris Funk, Superintendent of the East Side Union High School District says, "So to set this program up where you're going to have officers that will be in regions, and they'll partner together, and they'll be able to respond within a few minutes, I think that's a marvelous plan."

Mayor Sam Liccardo has been supportive of the new program. He says "what we can do today is better create an environment of safety around our schools on a daily basis."

The Guardian Program will be run out of the overtime budget. The Chief expects the school portion to cost about $3-million dollars the first year.

He says right now he's not worrying about paying for it, he's worried about getting to these kinds of tragedies as fast as possible.

Garcia says "so if there's anything that it teaches law enforcement is the quicker we have our men and women engaging a shooter, the more lives are going to be saved. And we're trying to maximize that as best as we can."