San Jose Police Motorcycle Unit Might Be Eliminated

SJPD officials said they're looking to add more patrol units to improve 911 response times

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The motorcycle traffic cop is a staple of police departments across the country, a staple San Jose could be losing. Robert Handa reports.

    The motorcycle traffic cop is a staple of police departments across the country, a staple San Jose could soon be losing.

    The San Jose Police Department is considering a plan to eliminate its motorcycle traffic unit and move the 11 officers into patrol car units, NBC Bay Area has learned.

    "The whole premise behind this is obviously to go ahead and help out our patrol unit, who desperately need the help," SJPD spokesman Albert Morales said.

    The police union reluctantly agrees.

    “Our patrol division is stretched to its limit,” the San Jose Police Officers' Association’s James Gonzales said. “We are completely reliant on overtime. And that's fatiguing our officers."

    SJPOA's Paul Kelly said the department is in an "embarrassing" situation because of Measure B, which he said "has put us in a position that we have to start cutting units like the traffic units."

    "It's beyond strange," Kelly said. "I think, if you look at a city our size, we should be having a traffic unit that is twice the size."

    SJPD officials said it might be necessary to redeploy its motorcycle unit officers because patrols cannot handle all emergency calls.

    "I think the chief and the command staff are always looking at ways to add more patrol units so that we can answer those 911 calls,” Morales said.

    Some San Jose residents who spoke with NBC Bay Area said they are concerned.

    "I think people are gonna possibly cut loose and not be as observant of the speed limit and the driving laws,” Julie Tornincasa said.

    The chief's office said it has not set a time limit on a decision but said it will come soon. Regardless, the department said it may keep some officers on motorcycles to work with patrol units for certain situations.