SJPD detectives going back on patrol due to staffing crisis

In San Jose, cuts could happen across the board to help with the police department's staffing crisis. On Tuesday night, KTVU learned the chief is recommending moving officers from nearly 30 different units as part of an emergency plan to reassign detectives back to patrol.

The police union said, the proposed reassignment means victims will likely face longer wait times to see a detective and will have to wait longer for justice. As one resident put it, this is not a win-win at all for the community.

"It's disappointing and a bit scary," said Judi Zamora of San Jose.

Zamora and her neighbors have already seen the effects of an understaffed San Jose Police Department. On Tuesday, they held a protest outside a business they suspect is operating as an illegal massage parlor, taking the matter into their own hands after meeting with a police officer.

"He told us years ago, in 2009, there were 14 members of the vice unit which normally would handle illegal spas and massage parlors and now it's been reduced to just two," said Zamora.

Zamora is concerned crime will only get worse and she is not alone. Albert Reyes is a former gang member now mentor at Victor Outreach.

"Even back when I was young the gang task force was huge and because of the gang task force it eliminated the gangs that were here at this time," said Reyes.

It is the ripple effect as the police department looks to redeploy 50 detectives and officers from specialized units to patrol.

KTVU has learned among those changes moving at least one officer in practically every unit in the department. The units likely hardest hit include the canine unit, the Metro unit that investigates street crimes and gangs and the sexual assault unit.
"Places like burglary, we have a city of a million people and only one burglary detective," said James Gonzales of the San Jose Police Officers Association. "You can barely process the paperwork much less investigate anything."

The union said it couldn't come at a worse time as violent crimes and homicides are up in San Jose. If approved by the city council, the shift changes could take effect September 11 and last until March.

"You are robbing Peter to pay Paul, you are attacking one area but you are depriving another part of the department either prosecuting or following up on doing what they need to do," said John Pope of San Jose.

The San Jose City Council met with police chief in closed session on Tuesday. The council is expected to discuss the emergency plan and vote on it at next Tuesday's city council meeting.