Police union warns San Jose could lose 200 officers over the next three years

Union leaders are warning the San Jose Police Department about an impending exodus of officers over the next three years, and are blaming the city for failing to address chronic staffing shortages.

According to a survey of 680 officers conducted by the San Jose Police Officer’s Association, over 200 officers are planning to resign- 150 of those in the next 36 months. Four of five survey responses cited lack of support from the city as the driving force behind their decision to eventually leave the department. Others cited salary and benefit issues as their reason.

Since 2021, 206 officers have retired or left the department, but according to the city, 208 officers have also been hired within the same time frame.

San Jose Police Department is the most thinly-staffed law enforcement department of any major U.S. city according union leaders. The city serves over a million people with 1,153 officers while San Francisco serves 875,000 with 2,100 officers.

At the same time, the city noted that the average pay of an SJPOA employee is $189,000, which is the highest of any union in the City.

The City of San Jose has also attempted to address staffing shortages through a new investment in public safety in this year’s budget, which included a foot patrolling program of 16 new officers and a new hire bonus program. The budget for staffing has increased 50 percent since 2015.

The police union and the city are currently in contract negotiations; the latest union request includes a 14 percent pay increase over the next two years plus additional training pay, plus a $5k bonus for each officer.