Overworked San Jose Officers Camping Out in Parking Lot - NBC Bay Area
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Overworked San Jose Officers Camping Out in Parking Lot

Some SJPD cops are working so much overtime, they're forced to stay in RVs at department headquarters

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    The officer shortage at the San Jose Police Department is hitting a critical point as officers say they're forced to work so much overtime that some are camping out in the parking lot. Ian Cull reports. (Published Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016)

    The officer shortage at the San Jose Police Department is hitting a critical point as officers say they're forced to work so much overtime that some are camping out in the parking lot.

    It's beginning to look like an RV park next to police headquarters. Inside the motor homes, officers are just trying to get what little sleep they can.

    "You don't know when you're a San Jose police officer when you're going home," said James Gonzales, vice president of the San Jose Police Officers Association. "You don't know when your day off is going to be because we have mandatory overtime."

    That can mean 17-hour days, Gonzales said, and for some of the men and women who commute from the Central Valley, it's safer to just sleep near work than drive home after a long shift.

    "Quite frankly, it's embarrassing," Gonzales said. "But a lot of them don't have a choice because they can't get home before they're required to come back to work."

    San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said he was stunned to hear about the police campers.

    "This is a very sad sign of the times," he said.

    Liccardo said next week, the City Council will consider an item that would bypass state labor laws and put 47 officers now in investigations back on patrol to relieve tired colleagues.

    "To enable the police chief to be able to deploy more officers out into the neighborhoods for patrol," Liccardo said. "Which is a critical Band-aid we need in place."

    Both Gonzales and Liccardo are pushing for Measure F this November, claiming it would cure the staffing crisis.

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