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The San Jose Police Department Is Facing Potential Officer Shortages

Michael Patrick
Flickr / Creative Commons
San Jose police officers stand beside their parked cars at night on a street lit with decorative lights.

The San Jose Police Department is not retaining officers or drawing as many applicants as it wants. It’s a reflection of a national trend

The San Jose Public Safety, Finance and Strategic Support Committee heard and discussed the report Thursday.

A new report shows 177 officers resigned from the San Jose Police Department last year — that’s more than 100 more than expected, according to the San Jose Spotlight.

And data shows sworn applications for the department have dropped by two-thirds since 2018 — from more than 10,000 to fewer than 3,500.

And San Jose has company.

As reported by the New York Times, a survey of 200 police departments across the country revealed resignations for the 12 months ending in April 2021 rose year over year by 18 percent; retirements rose by 45 percent.

The Police Executive Research Forum says, “The policing profession is facing a workforce crisis. Fewer people are applying to become police officers, and more people are leaving the profession, often after only a few years on the job.”

San Jose Police have been making efforts to recruit more diverse candidates. In fact, more than a third of the most recent class of police academy graduates were women — that’s the highest percentage in department history.

But the report points out that policing, and the perception of it, is changing, stating the “need for officers to spend a significant amount of time doing work that is more akin to social work than to law enforcement.”

Ben was hired as Interim Executive Director of KALW in November, 2021.