A rise in crime means it's time for more cops, San Jose city leaders declared this week -- but elections next year may also be a reason why pols in the South Bay are public safety-minded.
Putting 200 more cops on the streets over the next four years is the plan of Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilman Sam Liccardo, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
This would reverse the 10 percent pay cut that's hit San Jose's police force during the fiscal crisis, and also led to layoffs throughout the department -- but only over a four-year span. The city's police officers' union want the 10 percent pay cuts restored immediately.
It would also help Reed restore his reputation as mayor of "America's Safest Big City." That was San Jose's self-awarded title in 2006, when there were 1,400 officers patrolling the streets.
There are now about 1,000, after "labor-friendly" moves depleted a budget hit hard by the fiscal crisis and falling home prices during the Great Recession.
It would cost about $50 million over four years to hire an additional 200 officers, according to Liccardo.
The move for more police may make the public safe, but it's also political, according to Larry Gerston, NBC Bay Area's senior political analyst.
The politician whose moves appear to have made the streets safe will have an easier time in his or her quest for "control of City Hall," according to the newspaper.
The City Council will take up debate on the proposal on Tuesday, the newspaper reported.