Just three weeks after being sworn in, NBC Bay Area has learned 17 of the 40 cadets who graduated from the San Jose police academy already have one foot out the door.
They’re going to places like Morgan Hill, Hayward, and Oakland.
“Almost half or just under, is either applying or going through backgrounds or resigned at this time. They just graduated. It’s upsetting because we really need officers here in San Jose,” said Sgt. Paul Kelly, board member of the San Jose Police Officers Association.
It costs the city roughly $170,000 to train each cadet.
If 17 of them leave, that’s a loss of roughly $2,890,000 for San Jose.
“We're all concerned about police staffing in the city,” said San Jose councilman Sam Liccardo. Liccardo backed the mayor’s pension reforms, which are a major reason officers say they want to leave San Jose.
Liccardo wants officers to vote on a city proposal for a 5 percent wage increase over two years and a one time, four percent signing bonus. But the city can’t impose that raise on officers without union approval.
Just like Liccardo says he can’t force new recruits to stay on the job for a set period of time after graduation.
“The 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits us from forcing anyone to work. We are in the business of employing folks who want to work here," said Liccardo.
NBC Bay Area has also learned the San Jose police chief has called chiefs from other cities to see if they would confirm they were actively recruiting his cadets.
And a city hall insider told NBC Bay Area maybe it’s time to charge those cities for the cost of the training.
“I see this crisis just getting worse and worse," said Kelly.