There was a rare image in San Jose on Monday; a police academy.
The city hasn’t hosted an academy since 2009, and on Monday morning, 45 recruits lined up in formation just after 7:30.
“It’s no secret we’re poorly staffed right now and desperately need more people in our police department,” said Sgt. Paul Cooke, the Academy Supervisor.
“We’re really excited to have these people starting that process,” said Cook.
Right now, SJPD employs about 1046 uniformed officers. The chief said his department needs 1250 to competently keep the city safe.
But getting there won’t be easy.
NBC Bay Area has learned dozens of current officers are looking for work elsewhere.
Other cities are asking for their files as part of their background check process.
Many are frustrated with the department’s low morale, the cut in pay and benefits, and what they consider a leadership void in the department and at City Hall.
Chief Chris Moore is also leaving at the end of January. The department says these are all issues the recruits will be made aware of.
‘It’s not an easy time to be a San Jose Police Officer,” said department spokesman, Sgt. Jason Dwyer. “They’re going to learn that as well. We have to start rebuilding and move forward, and this is the first step,” said Dwyer.
There are 45 recruits in this academy which lasts six months. They beat out roughly 2,000 other applicants.
“The recruiting process is not the problem,” said Chief Moore. “We’ll get the good, qualified officers.”
Moore says the problem right now is in retention. He hopes the rookies will want to make it a career in San Jose.
After their academy and training, the recruits should be able to patrol the streets on their own by next June.