The San Jose Police Department will implement mandatory overtime for officers starting Sunday.
The major operational change is aimed at helping the understaffed police force cover all shifts.
"That leaves us with 839 street-ready officers for a city of over a million people," Garcia said.
Police officials said the department is having a hard time filling 252 10-hour shifts. And most of those shifts are being filled by voluntary overtime and mandatory overtime of officers who have already worked a 10-hour shift.
Officers who are already working overtime said they are exhausted by the time they clock out. Sources tell NBC Bay Area fatigue is becoming a major issue within the ranks.
"Tired officers can make mistakes. That's a reality," Garcia said. "However, we don't have a choice at this point."
Garcia is also contemplating other ways to run the academy classes since recruiting numbers remain in single digits, at all time lows. An option considered is to farm out the academy to other agencies.
"People elected me to confront issues, and we've got a crisis today in police staffing," Mayor Sam Liccardo said.
The mayor used Thursday's announcement to join Garcia in denouncing a legal challenge to the agreement the city reached with the police union regarding Measure B.
The Measure B pension reform is blamed for chasing many veteran officers away.
Former police officer and city councilman Pete Constant said the agreement is not legal because it requires voter approval first.
The city and unions said any delay in implementing the Measure B alternative means more officers will leave, and fewer will want to enlist.