Amid a homicide surge in what once was dubbed “America’s Safest Big City,” 66 young San Jose cops turned in their badges yesterday as a $115 million budget shortfall led to the city’s first-ever police layoffs, reports the San Jose Mercury News. The somber embraces of laid-off cops with fellow officers come as tensions simmer between cops and city leaders over pay and benefit cuts needed to save jobs as more deficits loom.
While the toll was much less than had been feared weeks ago because dozens of the 122 who were given layoff notices found jobs in other police departments, the cuts will take a historic toll on San Jose’s police force. In addition to the cops let go, the city cut nearly 100 police positions left vacant by recent retirements and departures The police force shrunk from 1,271 to 1,106 officers, fewer cops than the city had two decades ago, when San Jose had 200,000 fewer people. Police Chief Chris Moore called it “one of the saddest days I’ve had in my career.”