The scene at the San Jose Police Officers’ Association facility today resembled a funeral, except no one was dead, police union president George Beattie said. Sixty-six officers who were laid off due to San Jose’s $115 million budget deficit handed in their badges and said their goodbyes. Beattie said it was the first time in the Police Department’s history that officers were laid off.
“I felt like I was at a funeral reception,” Beattie said. “It was really gut-wrenching.” Mayor Chuck Reed expressed remorse about the layoffs, but said they are necessary because the city is not able to afford the officers. “Even though the police budget went up a small amount, police officer retirement costs jumped by $25 million so we had to shrink the department.
” But the reductions will not be without consequences, Beattie said. A police force of 1,106 is now managing a city of nearly 1 million people, he said. The result of that will be slower response times, especially to property crimes. He said city officials could have made better decisions to avoid some of the layoffs.”We’re very disappointed that this took place today. Moving forward, whatever harm comes, now they own it. We did what we could do.”
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